Recipe: Mediterranean Aubergine and Couscous Salad
More often than not, one of our weeknight meals will consist of some roasted vegetables, a soft grain (pearl barley, short grain brown rice, couscous…) and some houmous or grilled halloumi. It’s a quick dish that can be thrown together quickly; the veg just need chucking in the oven for 40 minutes, if you use couscous it’s ready in 10 minutes’ soaking, and a few little extras make for a delicious meal that’s great for lunch the next day too.
I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen the other day when I was food-gawking (ok I spend a lot of time doing this…) and it is slightly different to what I normally do so I thought i’d give it a go. And I was very impressed! I served it with Halloumi first, and added a spoonful of houmous (pictured) the next day for lunch.
It really is worth letting the veg get caremelised around the edges to intensify the savoury flavour, so leave them in for a bit longer than you would normally. Also, I do find raw sliced onions very harsh, so I soaked the slices in lemon juice for 15 minutes while the vegetables cooked to mellow them a little. It just seems to take some of the ‘onionyness’ away.
Now if only the weather in Britain matched the summery flavours of this dish!
Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Gourmet, September 2006
1 medium aubergine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 or 3 courgettes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
splosh of olive oil
3 chopped spring onions
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch chilli flakes
1 cup instant couscous
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, soaked in lemon juice
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
Accompaniment: Grilled halloumi/houmous
Toss aubergine and courgette with olive oil, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes, then spread in a large shallow baking pan. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally until vegetables are golden brown and tender, about 40 minutes.
Soak couscous according to pack instructions, with 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper. Fork in a splash of olive oil or a knob of butter when it’s done.
Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Season and Add the couscous, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Serve with the accompaniment of your choice.