A drizzly, homey Sunday with a supper to match. The winter is behind us. After months of eating lots of slow food, roasts and stews our appetites are calling out for something different.
This is what was on the menu:
Couscous Pearls with Pickled Red Peppers
Roasted Alaskan Salmon
Pan-charred Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan
It all sounds so nice when I write it up like that, but really everything was thrown together last minute and easy. The couscous scored high on the kid-appeal meter. Also, I've been enjoying a red pepper relish (I made last week) on everything from pasta to sandwiches. We shall definitely be playing with more of that kind of thing this summer!
Couscous Pearls (Coralie pronounces it "goose-goose")
Brown 1 and 1/3 cups pearl Israeli couscous in 1 T of olive oil in a saucepan. Add slowly 1 and 3/4 cups boiling water and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 12 minutes or so until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and toss with a good bit of nice olive oil while couscous is hot. Add sea salt to taste. (Monday leftovers will taste good with toasted walnuts, goat cheese, or those little fresh mozzarella balls.) Serve relish on side if you are serving kids, though it really isn't spicy at all and some kids will really like the sweetness of the peppers.
Sweet Pepper Relish (adapted from Cynthia Lahr's awesome book Feeding the Whole Family)
Place 1 cup finely diced red pepper and 1 seeded jalapeno pepper in a clean jar. Add 3T sugar, 3T unfiltered apple cider vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. Put a lid on the jar and keep in fridge for up to 2 weeks. (For sandwiches, you might want to try slicing the peppers thinly instead.)
Pan Grilled Asparagus (I got this idea from Jamie Oliver in his beautiful new book Jamie at Home)
Heat up a cast iron skillet. Place washed asparagus spears (with woody ends taken off) in hot pan. Turn the asparagus now and then so as to evenly "grill" the asparagus on all sides. Test asparagus for doneness. Toss with twice the olive oil as lemon juice while still warm and add salt. Shave parmesan on top.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse salmon and dry it well. Place on a piece of foil on top of a cookie sheet. Add salt and a little oil. I took a half spoonful of miso, 2 spoonfuls of soy sauce and a couple of drizzles of honey on top. I wish I had ginger as a little grated ginger would have been perfect. The cooking time will depend on the size of your piece of fish. Mine was (.37 pounds exactly, thank you very much) and took about 4-5 minutes.