Israeli Couscous with Caramelized Shallot, Asparagus, and Parsley

March 27, 2009 § 1 Comment

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If you haven’t tried Israeli couscous, next time you’re near the bulk bin section at your favorite food store, pick up a cup of this orzo-like finished grain (made from semolina).  Israeli couscous granules are slightly bigger than typical “fast cooking” couscous, but trust me, those extra 10 minutes are worth it.  Israeli couscous leagues more fun to eat.

This recipe was adapted from one of “Everyday Food” magazine’s 15-minute recipes.  I made a couple changes from the original recipe, but the one I thought I’d draw attention to was the Martha’s use of lemon juice.  I know everybody loves lemon juice; frankly, I’m starting to wonder if some sneaky recipe writers tack on “juice of a half lemon” for good measure at the bottom of all their recipes.  It’s ubiquitous!  I’m on the bandwagon, but this time I went with my old standby: balsamic vinegar and honey.

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Ingredients:
1 cup dried Israeli couscous
10 spears asparagus
5-8 shallots
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
splash olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey*

*If following a strict vegan diet, replace honey with maple syrup.

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Directions:

1.  Heat water on the stove and cook couscous according to packaging instructions.

2.  Meanwhile, splash a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a skillet and heat on medium-high.  When hot, toss thinly-chopped shallots into the pan and cook until wilted (about 4 minutes).  If  pan gets a little dry, add more oil if you like.  Add the balsamic vinegar and honey and saute another minute.

3.  Add chopped asparagus and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until asparagus is al dente and bright green.  Stir in parsley and remove from heat.

4.  When couscous is cooked, mix in onion mixture and serve immediately.

Diet Notes: Vegan (see asterisk), nut-free

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