My favorite members of the onion family get together here, all at their spring best. Long stalks of green garlic are one of the earliest arrivals at the farmers’ market. Chop the bulbs and the peeled, tender parts of the stalk for a very fresh-tasting burst of garlic flavor.
2 to 4 spring onions, depending on size
2 baby leeks, rinsed
2 cups pearl couscous
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 stalks green garlic (depending on size and potency), chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Watercress Dressing (recipe follows), plus more as needed
2 handfuls of frisée, torn into bite-size pieces, or other young greens, such as baby spinach
1/2 cup raw cashews, toasted and roughly chopped
1. Trim the spring onions, leeks, and scallions and separate the white parts from the tender greens. Discard any tough outer green leaves. Chop the white parts, and thinly slice the tender green parts on the diagonal. Reserve the white and green parts separately.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, pour the couscous into a dry 9- or 10-inch skillet set over medium heat and toast, stirring often, for about 6 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat.
3. Tip the couscous into the boiling water (set the skillet aside) and cook for about 8 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain in a colander and spread out on a sheet pan to cool completely, then transfer to a wide bowl.
4. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium heat and sauté the chopped white parts of the spring onions, leeks, and scallions and the green garlic, stirring, for several minutes, until softened but still slightly crisp; do not allow to brown. Remove from the heat and stir into the cooled couscous. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool.
5. Just before serving, add half of the dressing to the couscous and toss. Add the frisée and sliced spring onion, leek, and scallion greens and toss again, adding more dressing if needed (the couscous soaks it up as it stands). Add the cashews and toss again, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 bunch of watercress
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 cup flavorless vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the lower stems off the watercress. Rinse and dry the leafy tops and remove and discard any thicker stems. Put in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the mustard and vinegar and pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil, processing until the dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Leftover dressing can be used as a dip for crudités. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Now You Know
Toasting Pearl Couscous
A quick toast in a dry skillet (or on a sheet pan in a moderate oven) before boiling deepens the flavor and the color of the couscous and helps the grains maintain a firmer texture when dressed.
Excerpted from Saladish by Ilene Rosen (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Joseph De Leo.
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