Annie Sommerville has a wonderful recipe in Fields of Greens for couscous salad with pine nuts. Here is a variation that uses ingredients I have on hand at the place I stay in San Francisco. it’s a great accompaniment, served at room temperature or slightly warmed, to broiled pork or chicken. Serves 4.
1 c instant couscous
1 c fresh squeezed orange juice*
1/4 c water*
2 T champagne vinegar
2 T chopped red onion
2 T good olive oil
1/4 c (approximately 8) dried apricots, chopped
2 T dried cranberries or raisins
1 t salt
2 T hulled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
Method: Heat vinegar and onion over low heat for 2 or 3 minutes, till it gives off aroma. (This reduces the sharp onion taste.) Add all other ingredients EXCEPT couscous and seeds and bring to a low boil. Turn off and let it sit for 15 minutes to rehydrate the fruit. Bring back to the boil and pour over couscous; stir to mix evenly. After 15 minutes check for salt and tenderness. If too dry heat some water and mix in another 1/4 cup; stir in thoroughly, cover, and wait another 15 minutes. Lightly toast the seeds over low heat in a nonstick skillet and mix in just before serving. Serve lukewarm, cold or at room temperature; the only way I don’t like it is hot.
*Check the directions for the brand of couscous you use for liquid/grain ratio; you can always add a little more water but you can’t take it out. You can vary the proportion of orange juice and water, but don’t go below 2 parts juice to 1 part water.