This recipe is my attempt to marry lovely spring vegetables with a side dish more interesting than plain vegetable + starch. I think it works well next to chicken or fish, but it also makes a winning lunch all on its own. —Cristina Sciarra
Test Kitchen Notes
Lovely, fresh, delicious, and quick. The dark arugula, edamame, and spring greens mix prettily on my white salad plate beside the magenta radishes, and glistening little pearls of couscous. Each bite has bounce, crunch, and creaminess, and is mixed with flavors that nicely balance between savory, sweet, bitter, spicy, and cucumber cool. The addition of avocado oil adds a pleasant depth to the dressing without tilting its volume a bit. This salad can be made in less than 30 minutes, and would be perfect for a light weeknight dinner – perhaps paired with a slightly chilled glass of French rosé. —Jennifer Ann
4 starter portions
1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous
2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
1/2 a ripe avocado
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
5 tablespoons avocado oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup edamame
1 small bunch radishes
1 kirby cucumber
1 small serrano chili
2 handfuls arugula
In This Recipe
If you can make the couscous a little ahead, great, because you don't want it to be super hot when you toss it with the salad. (Otherwise, do what I did and throw it into the fridge for 20 minutes.) I like to cook the couscous with chicken stock, instead of water. Add a little salt and pepper.
Make the dressing: Spoon the avocado into a small bowl. Using a fork, give it a good smooshing, until the avocado is mashed. Add the lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. Pour the oil in a thin stream, whisking as you go, until the dressing is creamy. Taste to make sure the salt and pepper ratio is working.
Wash and cut the ends off the radishes. For this salad, I like to cut the radishes into kind of chunky pieces, so you really taste it when you take a bite. Wash the cucumber, and cut it similarly.
The chili and the scallions should be cut more thinly than the radish and cucumber. Wash the chili and cut it in half lengthwise. Deseed it, and then cut each half crosswise. Wash the scallions, and cut the white parts crosswise.
Toss the couscous, the edamame, the radishes, the cucumber, the chili, the scallions and the arugula together in a large bowl. Add the dressing, and toss until everything is evenly coated.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.