Oh my. How can a salad jeweled with so many beautifully vivid hues be anything but utterly delicious? It is. It’s magical. Actually, what is truly magical is couscous. It’s so easy. It almost does all the work itself. Of course there are a few special methods for preparing it. One of which I stumbled across on the internet — a video from a German TV channel (RTL2) featuring professional chef, Andi Schweiger.
In this video, Andi demonstrates how he prepares couscous. What he does is line a casserole dish with a damp kitchen towel, then he spreads the couscous evening along the bottom, sprinkles it with rosemary, then folds in the sides of the damp towel into the middle to cover the couscous and finally pours over a hot safran broth over it and lets it stand for 10 minutes. Once it is done, he fluffs it with his hands and adds a mixture of lightly sautéed vegetables, and in the end, a generous amount of olive oil. Voila! It may sound like unnecessary extra work with the sole intention of creating dirty laundry BUT it looked delectable!
Watching cooking shows on TV isn’t something I do. Actually watching TV isn’t something I do. Fib. Truth be known, I did cave in and have recently developed a weak spot for Netflix. Seeing this cooking video, did however, show me that you definitely can learn some interesting techniques by taking the time to watch others. My favorite Scwhabe has actually met Andi Schweiger. Although at the time, he had no idea who he was. He just thought Andi was cool since they had the same taste in music. Metal. Eeeeeh. But that was back then. Okay, only a few years ago. Curious. I’ve never heard metal played at home. Unless of course my favorite Schwabe secretly rocks out to metal when I am not there. Never.
For the last few years pre-prepared couscous salads have been popping up all over Hamburg. Whether at gyro or falafel stands, or train stations. But what I find “eklig” is when they serve couscous drowning in a cream sauce — more cream or mayo or whatever it is than couscous (especially so at the train station). This healthy recipe fulfills my quest for the perfect couscous salad. Crisp radishes with sweet oranges, and the fantastic fresh flavor of cilantro, tossed together with red cabbage and baby arugula. Not only is it easy to make, but with every bite it’s a taste sensation.
Jeweled Couscous Salad with Radishes & Oranges
For the salad:
1 cup couscous (200 g)
1 1/4 cups boiling water (310 ml)
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 navel oranges, peeled and segmented (reserving 1 tablespoon of the juice)
1/2 a small head of red cabbage, shredded
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
2 handfuls baby arugula leaves
For the dressing:
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon reserved orange juice
1 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from an organic lemon)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Place the couscous in a medium-large bowl, and add the boiling water. Cover with a plate and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
3. Place the couscous, radishes, orange segments, cabbage, cilantro and arugula in a large bowl. Add the dressing to the couscous mixture and lightly toss to combine.
4. Serve and enjoy!