Mediterranean Couscous Salad by Mom De Cuisine

Where has the summer gone? Seriously. I thought this was going to be a looooong summer with the kids not being in preschool and inevitably looking to me as their sole source of daily entertainment. But somehow that wasn’t the case (most days, at least). They spent most mornings in summer camp while I spent some mornings Zumbaing-yes it’s a verb. Look it up.

You know, it’s a funny thing when you move to a new place and not only are you forced to find a new place to live, but must also make new friends (or be a homeless hermit). So when I was invited to take private lessons with friends from a local Spanish teacher I jumped at the chance while trying not to sounds too desperate for social interaction. And with some of these same ladies whom I embarrassingly shake my money-maker with a few times a week that I also am in a book club with.

Now this book club has turned into more than just your average pick-an-informative-read-and-discuss-intelligent-topics kind of club. No, it’s better. We pick a nice “beach read” (we all live by the beach, after all) and then spend no more than 10 minutes discussing it, preferring to spend the rest of the time chatting celebrity gossip and crazy Spain adventures. It’s very serious.

This month was my turn to host the meeting for The Revenge Wears Prada (a very important and influential read). And of course, because I can never just do anything regular, all the food had to have a theme: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold. The menu: A cheese and charcuterie plate, the best hummus ever, mango and crab bites, and this couscous salad.

This salad works well as a hors d’Oeuvre or as a summer side dish. You can serve it warm or cold (for the meeting, I served it chilled to go along with the theme but my daughter ate the left-overs for dinner the next night warmed up.)

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Mediterranean Couscous Salad Recipe 

Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 45 mins
Total time 1 hour 15 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1-to-1/4 pound eggplant, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
  • 2 medium-size zucchini, each cut lengthwise into 4 wedges
  • 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, cut
  • crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 10 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10-ounce box couscous
  • 1 cup pitted brine-cured black olives (such as Kalamata), halved
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F or prepare grill. Divide first 5 ingredients between 2 heavy large baking sheets or two large pieces of foil. Brush vegetables with 3 tablespoons oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle herbs over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If using the grill, close foil into a tight packet. Roast until tender, turning occasionally, about 45 minutes. Cool. Remove and discard peels from garlic. Coarsely chop garlic. Cut roasted vegetables into 3/4-inch pieces. Set aside. (Can be made one day ahead)

Bring 2 1/2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon oil to boil in medium saucepan. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork. Transfer to large bowl.
Gently mix roasted garlic and vegetables, 1/4 cup oil, olives, and lemon juice into couscous. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.) Mix in the fresh basil and chives right before serving.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad