Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pearl Couscous Preserved Lemon Pasta Salad

Recently, we packed a picnic to take the St. Michelle winery to see an outdoors concert.  

Well, maybe picnic is a bit of an understatement.  About 8 couples, all with yummy things to share, our little table was groaning with food and wine.  A fun night out with friends, a beautiful night to hear good music outdoors.  I love summers in the Pacific Northwest.

I made Preserved Lemon- How to about a month ago, so now I'm hot on ideas for using them.  I love the fresh, salty taste that these lemons add to any dish, but especially this salad.  Almost a Greek salad, but the lemon is more pronounced and adds a great zip.  You could make this salad with other shapes of pasta, or even quinoa if you needed a gluten free dish.

NOTE: If you don't have time, or don't want to make your own, you can buy preserved lemons at gourmet grocery stores, Amazon or Sur la Table. 

One more NOTE... if you didn't have any preserved lemons (which many of you probably don't...) then you could try substituting 2-3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice, 1-2 tsp of fresh lemon zest and some salt to taste.  I haven't tried it like that, but I think it would be good too.

Makes about 6 cups

1 1/2 cup Israeli, or Pearl Couscous
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp preserved lemons, minced (recipe here)
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced (spinach would work too)
1 cup feta, diced (optional)
Lots of pepper

Cook the pasta al dente, about 6-7 minutes.  Strain and rinse in cold water.  Drain well. Add the pasta to a large bowl, add the olive oil, minced lemons, minced garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and feta.  Stir to combine.  Check seasoning... need more lemons?  Pepper?  Go for it.

Mince the preserved lemons quite small, like this.

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