I love to jump head-first into the culinary wonderland with no particular plan of action (I recommend you wear a helmet though. One is never too cautious). Dishes you create in the spur of the moment are often the best and this salad is the perfect example. It started out as a vague attempt at making a vegetarian recipe but i knew it wasn’t going so well when i caught myself cooking Israeli couscous in chicken stock. I knew it was bad when i put a crispy leg of duck confit on top of the salad. I had a great time doing it though! I’m in no way trying to influence you and i will remain sensible to our vegetarian friends but duck fat wins, baby. Duck fat wins everytime. Umm..
I made the pickled golden raisins a day earlier with no particular intention. These tasty morsels pick up the gentle heat of mustard seeds and make perfect little canvas for inspiration. They’re complex little treats. So i roasted some mushrooms, maitake and shitake to a pleasing crispness, mixed them with the Israeli couscous and pickled raisins and some mustard seeds as well. I found some herbs in my refrigerator, tarragon, chives and parsley. Chopped them very roughly.. large pieces are nice for texture and taste. I made a vinaigrette with sherry vinegar and olive oil, salt and black pepper. I think i added a teaspoon of soy sauce for extra depth. It helped bring out the mushroom flavor. Tossed the whole gang together and shaved some manchego over the top. Damn good.
Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Mushrooms, Herbs & Pickled Golden Raisinsl
- Serves 4
For the pickled raisin:
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
- 1 hot chili
For the salad:
- 2 cups Israeli Couscous, cooked in chicken stock or water
- 2 cups mushrooms,preferably shitake and maitake
- 1 cup fresh herbs, chives, parsley, tarragon. Roughly chopped
- 1 cup pickled raisins (some mustard seeds too)
- 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- aged manchego, shaved
For the pickled raisins:
- Toast the mustard seeds in a small skillet until they start to pop. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the mustard seeds, vinegar, herbs, salt, chili and golden raisins. Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool. Cover and reserve in refrigerator overnight.
For the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 350’F. Cut the mushrooms into pieces. Drizzle with olive oil on a sheet tray. Season with salt and pepper and roast until golden brown and slightly crisp around the edges.
- Mix them with the cooked Israeli couscous, chopped herbs and drained pickled raisins.
- Whisk the sherry vinegar with salt and pepper and olive oil. Add a touch of soy sauce if you want.
- Toss the salad with dressing, to taste. Adjust seasoning. Shave some manchego over the top. Serve.
- Sorry but i couldn’t help display a duck leg on this post.