This hearty salad I usually make with a simple shallot, lemon and the best extra-virgin olive oil vinaigrette, but since I needed to use cherry tomatoes and didn’t want the salad soggy, it was necessary to get rid of some of the tomato juice without losing the flavor. That is why after I strained and discarded the seeds, I reduced the liquid to a flavorful concentrate and then used it as a base for the vinaigrette. To merry all the flavors and concentrate them, I cooked anchovy filets, the sausages, garlic, chickpeas and even the tomato liquid for the vinaigrette, in the same skillet. Such kind of salad could be made with any pasta or grains, sausages can be substitute with mushrooms for a vegetarian version. —Kukla
For the couscous salad
• 1 cup Israeli toasted couscous
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 3 anchovy filets + 3 Lamb sausages such as (Merguez) or Chorizo, casing removed and cut in small pieces
• 1 (15oz) can Chickpeas well rinsed and drained
• 2 teaspoons pure olive oil, for sautéing
• 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and dill or any herbs of your choice, chopped
• Coarse salt, if needed
For the Cherry Tomato vinaigrette
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes , ripe, quartered
• Kosher salt to taste
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1medium shallot , minced (about 3 tablespoons)
• 4 teaspoons lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Ground black pepper to taste
• 4 green onions, chopped (only the bright green part) or chives, for garnish
Toss tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sugar in medium bowl; let stand for 30 minutes.
Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and gently shake to remove seeds and excess liquid.
Strain tomato liquid through fine strainer into a small bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Set aside until ready to make the vinaigrette.
In a medium saucepan bring the chicken stock to boil, add couscous, reduce to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile heat oil in a skillet until shimmering, add 3 anchovy filets, finely chopped and cook, stirring, for a couple minutes until they are completely dissolved; add sausage pieces and brown until cooked through and golden brown.
Using a slotted spoon, remove sausages to the pan with cooked couscous, cover with a lid to keep warm.
Reduce the heat and in the same skillet quickly sauté garlic until lightly browned, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the pan with couscous and sausages and cover.
In the same skillet sauté the chickpeas until they are heated through and slightly browned; add them to the other cooked ingredients.
To make the vinaigrette: Bring tomato liquid and shallots to simmer in the same skillet where all the other ingredients were cooked.
Simmer until reduced to about 3 to 4 tablespoons, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a small bowl and cool to room temperature.
Whisk in lemon juice, oil and pepper to taste until well combined.
Taste and season with some more salt if needed.
Transfer everything to a large mixing bowl, add chopped herbs, cherry tomatoes and the vinaigrette, gently toss to combine.
Serve warm or room temperature, leave some vinaigrette mixed with tomatoes in case someone likes to add to their plate. Garnish with the green onions or chives.