Fresh herbs and oil, processed to a paste, infuse couscous with bright flavor
Herb-and-Pistachio Couscous Salad

Herb-and-Pistachio Couscous Salad

30 minutes

6 Servings

Couscous was originally produced by pounding hard durum wheat, then sieving, steaming and drying the resulting flour several times to make small, hard granules. The labor-intensive process helped preserve the starch in arid climates. Modern couscous is mostly made with refined flour, but for all its convenience, it can be pretty dull and uninspiring. We tinkered with different cooking methods before we thought to underhydrate the couscous, allowing it to better absorb other flavors. A paste made from heaps of fresh herbs and olive oil provided the necessary moisture for the “thirsty” couscous and infused it with bright, intense flavor. Pickled jalapeños—plus a splash of their brine—gave the dish acidity. Toasted pistachios added crunch.

Ingredients

  • 1

    cup couscous

  • 3

    tablespoons dried currants

  • 1/2

    teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3/4

    cup boiling water

  • 6

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 2

    cups lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 2

    cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 2

    tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapenos, plus 2 teaspoons brine

  • 2

    ounces baby arugula, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 1/2

    cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped

  • 2

    scallions, thinly sliced

Herb-and-Pistachio Couscous Salad

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

30 minutes

Tip

Don’t use Israeli couscous, which won’t hydrate sufficiently in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1

    cup couscous

  • 3

    tablespoons dried currants

  • 1/2

    teaspoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 3/4

    cup boiling water

  • 6

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 2

    cups lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 2

    cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 2

    tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapenos, plus 2 teaspoons brine

  • 2

    ounces baby arugula, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 1/2

    cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped

  • 2

    scallions, thinly sliced

Step 1 of 3

Prepare the couscous

1
cup couscous
3
tablespoons dried currants
1/2
teaspoon ground cumin
1/4
teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper
3/4
cup boiling water
1
tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, currants, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.


Add the boiling water and 1 tablespoon of oil, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes. 

Step 2 of 3

Make the herb paste

2
cups lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
2
cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
5
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2
teaspoons pickled jalapeno brine
1/4
teaspoon kosher salt

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cilantro, parsley, the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil, jalapeno brine and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.


Process until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute, scraping down the bowl 2 or 3 times. 

Step 3 of 3

Finish the salad

2
tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapenos
2
ounces baby arugula, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2
cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped
2
scallions, thinly sliced

Fluff the couscous with a fork, breaking up any large clumps, then stir in the herb paste until thoroughly combined.


Fold in the jalapenos, arugula, pistachios and scallions, then let the couscous sit for 10 minutes.


Season with salt and black pepper. Serve at room temperature, drizzled with oil, if desired. 

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