It was impossible not to conjure up images of olive and citrus groves with this week's contest ingredients. I knew I wanted to bring them together over pasta. Which citrus fruit, which type of pasta, what other embellishment were the questions I had to work out. In the end after a few trials, going simple and keeping it pure gave the best results. —vegetarianirvana
light olive oil
1 3/4 cups
OJ, freshly sqeezed or store-bought (without pulp)
salty, pitted green marinated olives, divided
finely minced sweet yellow onions
Salt and pepper to taste
A couple of sprigs of lemon thyme leaves (optional)
Toast the couscous in 1/2 tablespoon of oil, till it turns nutty brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and stir till the the liquid starts bubbling. Add the salt to taste (I added 1/2 teaspoon). Reduce the heat to a simmer, and put a tight fitting lid on the pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Halfway through, stir to release any couscous sticking to the bottom and cover again.
While that is cooking, roughly chop 10 of the olives. To it add the finely minced onions, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil and black pepper (I added almost 1/4 teaspoon). This is the dressing. Slice the remaining 2 olives into rings for final decoration.
Once the couscous is cooked al dente, fluff it up so it doesn't stick together and add the dressing, mix well, adjust salt to taste. Add the olive rings and the lemon thyme leaves if using.
The sweetness of the orange juice contrasts beautifully with the saltiness of the olives and I love the little lemony bursts from the thyme in every mouthful.