The Red and the Black: The Sequel. Black Quinoa, Pearl Couscous ,Tomato Coulis

August 27, 2013
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  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Call it Stendahl’s Revenge or Batman KAPOW!s the Riddler in New Mexico. It will knock you out. This is very much a dish for August taking advantage of vine ripe tomatoes and the brief availability of Hatch chilis in our markets. You can make it year round if you are willing to settle for canned tomatoes and chilis.
I took some inspiration from one of my favorite local chefs who used a combination of quinoa and couscous as a platform for grilled shrimp. For my own take I used black quinoa and a larger pearl grain than my chef friend. Mine is meatless but I would like to recommend perhaps grilled scallops or lobster as an add on. Also you could combine red and black couscous. By the way despite the fancy French name a coulis is nothing more than a bisque. Okay, that’s French too. Here it's tarted up with the Hatch chilis.
Special equipment; a food mill.

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 2 Hatch chilis roasted*
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed up to ½ cup
  • 1/2 of 1 bunch cilantro washed and torn up by hand
  • 1 cup black quinoa
  • 1 cup pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous), Bob’s Red Mill™ preferred
  • 4 cups water
  • salt
  1. Begin by roasting your chilis over an open gas flame or on an outside grill. Once the skin has blackend place them in either a paper bag or a bowl covered with cling wrap to steam. After they are cool enough to handle peel off as much black skin as you can. Don’t worry if there are some residual streaks. Cut off the tops and yank out the seeds. A few strays aren’t going to hurt. Give the peppers a rough chop.
  2. Core and then cut your tomatoes into chunks.
  3. Heat up the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and allow it to color a bit. Then add the peppers and the tomatoes. Season with salt. Allow this mixture to simmer until soft and gooey. You are going to mill it anyway so don’t worry about texture right now.
  4. Meanwhile prepare your quinoa and couscous. In one pot get water boiling (for pearl/Israeli couscous follow the package directions as cooking time can vary)add the couscous and cook until al dente. This might take 10-15 minutes or more.
  5. In another pot heat up two more cups of water just to where it’s beginning to boil. Add salt and then your black quinoa. Cover and hold at a simmer for about 15 minutes. You will know it is done when that little ring (the germ) begins to appear and the texture is soft. Turn off the heat and hold covered.
  6. Now that the tomatoes and peppers have simmered down place a food mill over a large bowl and work the mixture through. This will remove the skins and most of the residual seeds. You can use a blender or food processor for this but the results will be somewhat less elegant. I’ll leave that up to you.
  7. Wipe out the pan you used for the tomatoes and return the mixture and re-warm. It doesn’t need to be very hot.
  8. In another large bowl combine the cooked quinoa and couscous along with the chopped cilantro, more olive oil and salt. Taste it!
  9. To the plate! Ladle out the tomato and chili mixture and top with the quinoa/couscous.
  10. *Few things smell better than fresh roasted Hatch chili when it’s in progress. As noted you can substitute the canned variety in the off season. You can also substitute long Anaheim chilis which are available most of the year but the flavor is weak in comparison

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Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

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