Borrowing from the idea of tabouli, I concocted this salad to celebrate all the fresh vegetables and herbs emerging into the marketplace. I replaced the bulgar wheat with couscous and voilà, a great starter or even a main dish when served with a simple roasted fish or meat (I had mine with roasted chicken).
Eating this salad reminds me to go outside, bask in the sunshine, and soak up all the goodness that summer brings. Now if only I can convince Parisien park officials that it's okay to picnic on grass (especially in the Luxembourg Gardens)- they seem to think that all sitting should be done on chairs or benches!* This California girl vehemently disagrees.
I recommend adding the feta at the last minute, as it tends to get quite mushy when sitting in the salad for too long. If you plan on eating it over the course of a few days, add feta only to the amount you'll be serving. Trust me, you'll appreciate how the feta flavor stays sharp and retains its distinct consistency.
*Go to the greens outside the Eiffel Tower facing Ecole Militaire for a great picnic spot where you can sit on grass. Plus, the sparkling lights are an added bonus!
Couscous Tabouli Salad
1-1/2 cups medium-grained couscous
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 English cucumber
1 medium tomato
1/2 bunch fresh mint leaves
1/2 bunch fresh parsley leaves
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh lemon juice
Salt & pepper
- Cut garlic clove in half and rub the cut half on the inside of a large bowl. Mince garlic clove and add to the bowl.
- Cut cucumber and tomato into small dice (brunoise for those LCB grads!) and add to the bowl.
- Finely chop mint and parsley leaves and add to the bowl.
- Pour couscous into a wide shallow dish or bowl with a lid (plasticware works fine for this).
- Bring 1 1/2 cups of hot water and salt to a boil. Pour over couscous. Stir to make sure all grains are coated with water. Cover with lid and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Remove lid from couscous and fluff with a fork to separate grains.
- Add couscous to large bowl and gently stir vegetables and couscous together.
- Add olive oil.
- Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.
- Add crumbled feta just be serving.
- Place couscous in a ring mold, add seasoned (use a mild vinaigrette) fresh herbs on top. Slice cucumber and fan out on plate, drizzle with additional olive oil or vinaigrette.