Everyday Food (April 2009)
A funny thing happened while we were in San Francisco for a week: summer came to Washington, D.C. When we left the District, it was chilly and raining, and the trees were just beginning to make a pale green effort at dressing up their barren branches. We returned to find 90-degree weather, bright sunshine and streets full of leafy, green trees. Summer, it seems, is in full tilt.
And if there's one surefire place to find us on a summer evening, it's our outdoor grill.
We're pretty straightforward cooks when it comes to grilling, sticking mostly to simple cuts of meat with a few choice spices. On occasion, we'll dress up a steak, make a more elaborate barbecue chicken, or even do something a little fancier on the grill.
But 99 percent of the time you'll find us cooking a well-seasoned steak or piece of fish, dressed with salt, pepper and -- if we're feeling adventurous -- a simple marinade.
Regardless of what we're grilling, we look for simple but tasty sides that can be prepared with minimal effort. Last night, we opted for an arugula salad, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese. Looking for a second side, we settled on Israeli Couscous with Parsley and Shallots.
We're hot on Israeli couscous right now. After making the delicious Chicken with Israeli Couscous back in January, we've been keeping some on hand and can reliably find it at both our local Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. We often eat it plain, as a bed for a piece of fish or a side for a protein.
Thanks to this recipe, our plain Israeli Couscous days are over.
In what could hardly be a simpler execution, sauteed shallots are tossed with cooked couscous in a bowl. Mix in chopped parsley and a bit of lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. And that's it! The dish easily comes together in under 15 minutes. It's a delicious, light side that's perfect for warm weather. It's also great hot or just room-temperature, so it would be excellent for picnics or dining outdoors.
By the way, we had an amazing -- and amazingly delicious -- trip to San Francisco. It was a week full of friends, new restaurants and eating a bit like gluttons. If you missed our play-by-play on what and where we ate, you can read through the (almost embarrassing) list on our Twitter feed.
Are you grilling these days? Have any favorite recipes for the grill or summer sides? Let us know!
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 8 shallots (about 1/2 pound total), halved and thinly sliced (if shallots are unavailable, onions can be substituted)
* 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook couscous until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, and transfer to a bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add to bowl with couscous. Add parsley and lemon juice, and toss. Season with salt and pepper.