Couscous Salad

Texas de Brazil Recipe

Serves 6-8

1 1/2 pounds Israeli couscous pasta
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil plus 2 tablespoons to saute the onions and asparagus
8 tablespoons of lemon pepper seasoning
1 cup of sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup scallions, green and white parts sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
12 spears of medium or small asparagus, sliced in 1 inch pieces
1 small red onion, core discarded, cut in strips
coarse salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Strain, rinse with hot water and reserve.

In a bowl, mix rice vinegar and lemon pepper seasoning. Add vegetable oil in steady stream, whisking constantly to emulsify the mixture. Mix pasta with dressing, stirring gently to coat.

In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Cook red onion until slightly caramelized. Add asparagus; cook 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add all the ingredients, including the scallions and cranberries, to the pasta and stir, taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Notes: This dish can be served warm or cold. Texas de Brazil kitchens use a professional torch to give a nice char to roasted vegetables such as bell peppers, jalapenos and onions once the veggies are out of the oven. If you are trying this recipe and you have a torch designed for the home kitchen, char the asparagus and red onions after they have been sauteed. The chars will add a smoky flavor to this salad. You also can add shredded chicken breast to make this a meal.

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