Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lemony Couscous with Lucques Olives and Ricotta Salata served with Romesco Sauce

Last year my mother, sister and I spent a week in New York relishing Broadway, the museums and of course eating amazing meals. One of these extraordinary meals was at a great little restaurant called where Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef. I still remember what we ate that night: Roasted Marrow Bones, Grilled Octopus Salad and Whole Fish with Fennel Oil. That entire trip I was speechless about the amazing food we ate. That meal in particular has remained one of my all time favorites. So... you say what does this have to do with this entry. Well long story short Gabrielle Hamilton's sister Mellisa is partnered with Christopher Hersheimer in a venture called They self publish seasonal cookbooks which are great. I was so excited to go to my mailbox today because there was a big brown package that I knew was my birthday gift to myself... The 4th volume of Canal House Cooking. Their recipe for Romesco Sauce inspired this dish.

Romesco Sauce
makes about 2 cups

1cup toasted almonds and hazelnuts
3 roasted tomatoes
1 bulb roasted garlic
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon pimenton dulce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 0r 2 piquillo peppers
1 slice french bread toasted

Put nuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add peppers,tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, pimenton, wine, bread and vinegar and pulse to make a chunky mixture slowly add the olive oil. Let sit for 15 minutes to develop flavor. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

This sauce is perfect for fish veggies or with french bread and olive oil. I used it to accompany the couscous dish here. Then I'll have it with fish tomorrow. It has a slightly spicy, nutty and smoky flavor that makes me think of Italy on a warm night.

I have to tell you this Lemony couscous is so creamy (yet cream free). It has this kind of velvety texture that plays off the crunch of the Lucques olives and then you have the tanginess of the cheese. All these great flavors playing off your tongue . You can eat it either warm or cold. It's one of those salads that really fills you up but won't bog you done because it really is fairly light.

Lemony Couscous with Olives, Basil and Ricotta Salata:

2cups Israeli couscous
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 zest of a lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup Lucques green olives
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
Ricotta salata

Heat the chicken stock with bay leaf. Add couscous and bring to boil, lower temp to low and cook for 10 minutes or until all liquid is gone. reserve.
In skillet saute onions in olive oil until caramelized add garlic. Add couscous,lemon zest, lemon juice, olives, basil, and parsley. Stir and warm thru. Serve with strips of ricotta salata. Drizzle with good olive oil and serve.

This is super yummy enjoy!!

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