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Fall Fruit Couscous Salad

fallCousCous
photo by Joy Zhang

By Sheri Castle from
THE NEW SOUTHERN GARDEN COOKBOOK

This salad makes a light, fresh Thanksgiving dish, a welcome contrast to all the heavy, creamy, rich food. Because we photographed this dish out of season, we substituted oranges for the persimmons. Depending on which is the freshest, you may also use a pear in place of the apple. Fuyu persimmons are squat with a distinctive four-leaf top knot. They hold their firm shape when cut, making them a sweet and colorful addition to this simple salad. Don’t try this recipe with a Hachiya persimmon, because cutting one is like trying to slice a water balloon.

6 to 8 servings

1½ cups plain couscous (about 10 ounces)
½ cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons fruity, mild, extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil, divided
3 tablespoons chopped scallions (white and tender green parts)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken or light-colored vegetable stock
½ cup apple juice concentrate
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tart apple, cored and cubed
2 Fuyu persimmons, cored and thinly sliced (or 1 cup orange slices)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
½ cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted
½ cup pomegranate arils

Place the couscous and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the scallions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the stock, apple juice concentrate, and salt. Bring to a boil and pour over the couscous. Cover the bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous gently with a fork. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the apple, persimmons, mint, pecans, and pomegranate arils. Check the seasoning and add more salt, if needed.

From The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes. Copyright © 2011 by Sheri Castle. Photographs © 2011 by Stewart Waller. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. uncpress.unc.edu

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