03 July 2011

Couscous with Haricot Verts, Potato and Dried Cranberries

Summer is a time for wine and salad. With the advent of heat that summer brings our bodies automatically want lighter meals, but not less creative and elegant ones. Long gone is the day of salads requiring lettuce, vegetables, and some sort of French/Bleu Cheese dressing combination. As is the underlying theme of this blog, food is what you make it, all labels aside. This salad has a thoughtful mix of
dry, sweet, sour, and salty giving your taste buds everything that they desire in a fine meal. While it may appear that this meal, with it's Couscous, Haricot Verts, Potatoes, Dried Cranberries, Feta and Slivered Almonds may take long to prepare-it doesn't. The Couscous takes a total cooking time of about 10 minutes (including the boiling time for the water). The longest portion of this meal is boiling, drying and cooling the potatoes. Regardless, you should be done with the meal in approximately one hour. Let's not forget the most important part of cooking

which is the wine you'll be drinking during the cooking process (hopefully white) and then during dinner (hopefully red). Make them good. Cooking is a process that should be enjoyed-which cannot help but be felt in the final product. 

Couscous with Hericot Verts, Potato and Dried Cranberries
Serves 6

This salad is great with a side French Baguette with butter. If you would like to make it easily vegan, subtract the Feta Cheese.

2 cups Couscous
1 1/2 lbs diced Gold Potatoes
12 oz  Haricot Verts
8 oz Dried Cranberries
6 oz Feta
5 tbsp Slivered Almonds
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinaigrette

In a medium pot boil your potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes.  When the potatoes are done remove them from the pot, place them in a strainer, and run them under cold water for about 20-30 seconds. When finished dry the potatoes to remove the absorption of any excess water. Let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes and dice them. 

In a saute pan heat the Olive Oil for about 3 minutes on medium heat and then add the Hericot Verts. Saute the Haricot Verts on high heat until they reach your desired tenderness (they should however remain somewhat crisp). Once they are done leave the Haricots Verts warm until you are ready to use them.

In a pot heat the Couscous according to the package instructions. 

In a large bowl add the cooked Couscous. Add the butter to the Couscous and mix thoroughly in order to moisten the Couscous a bit. Add the diced Potatoes, Feta, Dried Cranberries, Slivered Almonds and Haricot Verts. Mix thoroughly. 

A light topping of Balsamic Vinaigrette should accompanying each serving, about 1-2 tablespoons each. But as the host it's your decision whether you'd like your guests or family to pour the Vinaigrette to their taste. 



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