Thursday, July 29, 2010

Israeli Couscous and Eggplant

This recipe is wonderful. It's easy and flavorful. The only downside to it is that it is not quite substantial enough for a main course. It's a perfect side though.

Curtis and I loved it. Little I ate the Israeli couscous (which is more like orzo or acini di peppe pasta than traditional couscous) and M even tried it and decided it was pretty good. I substituted parsley for the cilantro. Cilantro would have made it even better, but parsley will do just fine in an herb pinch. For those Texans in big cities, you can find Israeli couscous at Central Market or probably Whole Foods. If you can't find it, substitute the pasta listed above.

These proportions serve just 3 as a side dish.

Israeli Couscous and Eggplant
adapted from Bon Appetit

3/4 lb unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c Israeli couscous
1/4 t cumin*
1 T balsamic vinegar (white is preferable, but regular is just fine)
fat 1/4 t cinnamon
2 T red onion, finely chopped
3 T golden raisins
3 T fresh cilantro (or parsley, if need be), chopped

Place eggplant cubes on rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray or silpat liner. Drizzle with 1 1/2 T olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast in preheated 450 degree oven until tender, turning occasionally, 30 - 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the couscous in boiling salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes (or according to pkg directions). Drain. Rinse under cold water to cool, drain again, and place in medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine cumin, vinegar, cinnamon, and 1 T olive oil. Whisk to blend and season with salt and pepper. Mix in onion. Add raisins, cilantro, eggplant cubes, and dressing to couscous. Toss to coat.

*If you prefer, you can use 1/2 t whole cumin seeds. To use those, toast them in a small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darkened, about 4 minutes. Grind in spice mill and then proceed with adding vinegar, cinnamon, olive oil according to above directions. I took the fast route and just used ground cumin.

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