Pearl couscous is a fabulously showy version of the pantry staple. It looks gorgeous and tastes delicious in this macro version of tabbouleh that uses slow roasted instead of raw tomatoes. Slow roasting brings out the sweetness of cherry tomatoes in spades, and turns the garlic into a sweet, nutty-tasting paste that flavors the dressing.
If you are on an anti-microbial regimen or neutropenic diet, cooking the tomatoes makes eating this tabbouleh salad possible. You will need to quickly sautée the chopped herbs in a little stock or olive oil before adding them to the salad.
Roasted Tomato & Olive Pearl Couscous
2 pints (4 cups) red grape or cherry tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2¾ cups Chicken Broth
2¼ cups pearl (Israeli) couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange cut sides up, in a single layer on a large baking pan with the unpeeled garlic. Roast in the middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.
3. Squeeze roasted garlic out of its skin and puree with the olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and ½ cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth.
4. Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
5. Spread couscous in 1 layer on a baking sheet and cool 15 minutes. Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir with the pureed dressing, roasted tomatoes, olives, parsley, mint, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
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