Couscous Salad with Spinach, Parsley and Spring Onions

This being my first summer in New Orleans, I’m finding the necessary changes to my lifestyle fascinating. I’ve had to buy practically a whole new wardrobe, and the heat means I have to reschedule all of my activities, from errands to exercise, to make the most of cooler (relatively) mornings and evenings. There are so many great recipes to discover that help alleviate the effects of the heat, as well. Brother O’Mara and I have been eating salads almost every evening we stay home, and since they are usually greens-based, this one was a welcome change a couple of nights ago. Crisp lemon and onion, fresh parsley, spinach for texture– couscous never had it so good!

Couscous Salad with Spinach, Parsley and Spring Onions

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1-1/3 cups hottest possible tap water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 bunch fresh parsley, leaves only (2 cups loosely packed)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 spring onions or 6 scallions, trimmed and cut into very thin rings
5 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, dried, stems removed, and cut into chiffonade (4 cups loosely packed)
3 tablespoons Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing (recipe follows)

RECIPE

1. In a large, shallow bowl, combine the couscous and the salt. Toss with a fork to blend. Add the water and fluff until the grains are evenly separated. Set aside and occasionally fluff and toss the grains until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes.
2. In a food processor or a blender, combine the lemon juice, parsley leaves, and olive oil and process until the parsley is finely chopped. Toss the parsley mixture and the spring onions with the couscous. (This can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated.)
3. At serving time, toss the spinach chiffonade with just enough dressing to evenly coat the greens. Add the dressed spinach to the couscous mixture and toss gently to blend evenly.

Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing

Makes 1 1/4 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup light cream
1/3 cup finely minced fresh chives

RECIPE

1. In a small jar, combine the lemon juice and the salt. Cover and shake to dissolve the salt. Add the cream and chives. Shake to blend. Taste for seasoning. Store, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week. Shake to blend again before serving.

Excerpted from Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells. Copyright 2007 by Patricia Wells.

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