Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lemon Asparagus Couscous

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It has been raining almost nonstop for the past two months. Granted, it's comforting to know that we'll be able to shower this summer, but all that rain can dampen the best of spirits. Last weekend was the first in a long time that we had some sunlight. It put me in such a good mood that I wanted to make a dish with some spring flare. Of course, as soon as I had those thoughts, the temperature dropped to the 40s and I was caught in a hail of tiny ice cubes. We're probably not ready for spring. But at least I can pretend that it's almost here.

For this spring inspired dish, you'll need:
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of couscous
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 bunch (or 1/2 cup chopped) parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)
Start by bringing the vegetable stock to a simmer. Trim off the tough end of the asparagus and add to the stock. Simmer, uncovered, until the stock reduces to approximately one cup. Remove the asparagus trimmings and add couscous, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. In the meantime, blanch asparagus and chop small.

After 15 minutes, fluff couscous with fork. Add chopped parsley, asparagus, and pine nuts. Toss together. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

This dish has a ton of texture and flavor. It is something that I would be happy to have for a spring lunch at an outdoor cafe. A girl can dream, right?

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