Moroccan couscous with grilled Haloumi, tomato salsa and pine nuts…
Really simple, very tasty vegetarian Moroccan based dish.
I have over the years trimmed this recipe back to it’s very basics – and it’s better that way, but feel free to adapt to your tastes by adding or subtracting ingredients such as the garlic, spices etc… A recipe is only a guide not carved in stone…
Great for a summer dish and reminding you of warmer lands in the winter.
I love it cos it’s tasty and most of all so easy – it really is minimum pain and maximum gain with this one – if you like Moroccan flavours and haloumi that is of course.
For 2 people
5 good ripe vine tomatoes
1 pack of haloumi cheese
1/2 a pint of couscous – just as it is – see below.
pine nuts – a good few as many as you want – toasted
1 tin of apricot halves
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander (just increase / decrease amounts if you like a particular spice)
olive oil, lemon juice, garlic clove, salt
Handful of sultanas/ raisins
Fresh mint if available
You can increase or decrease amounts according to your taste…
For the salsa (a simple tomato salsa that goes with everything…)
De skin the tomatoes –
Neat trick for de-skinning tomatoes = place the toms in a pan, cover with boiling water – bring to the boil for a minute or so until the skins are loosening. Drain and cool off with cold water. The skins will come away easily. Be careful of them still being hot inside.
Crush the tomatoes by hand and add salt, small amount of garlic fresh (more if you like garlic), olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Toast the pine nuts in a cast iron pan (skillet) if possible. Place them into the pan – no oil etc. – and heat. Watch them – they will burn quickly. Once toasted to a rich brown colour – not burnt – remove from the pan to prevent further cooking and burning.
The couscous –
Do NOT buy that over priced ready done couscous that is in the little boxes… you don’t need to, you are wasting money and you cannot control the flavour. Buy a kilo from a shop that sells it loose – maybe for £2.50 (2016)
Couscous is so simple – it’s really the simplest of foods to prepare…
A rule of thumb is – 1/4 of a pint of couscous per person for a large portion… so 1/2 pint for 2 people
Put 1/2 a pint of couscous in a large bowl – and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and the sultanas – also some chopped dried apricots if you want…
Stir it up to mix and add boiling water just to cover it – not too much or it’ll be soggy – give it a good fork through and leave for 2 minutes or so – in this case it can just stand and is rewarmed wit the salsa – couscous is usually served cool and the item it’s served with is hotter – eg. classic with lamb tajine or tagine (a cooking pot)
That’s it – it’s done – easier than spuds, rice pasta … and you can control the flavours as well – now that you know you’ll never buy a box of it again…
Cut the haloumi into fairly thick slices – I get 6 out of one block – and fry in olive oil taking care not to burn it
Warm up the tomato salsa in a microwave is easiest – not boiling – just warm
Plate up the couscous, pour the warm salsa on top, place the haloumi top and sprinkle over the pine nuts, place the apricot halves around the outside of the plate.
If you have some fresh mint leaves – chop and sprinkle over – really adds to the flavours, and add some fresh basil to your salsa…
and enjoy it…