Israeli Couscous Salad with Preserved Lemons, Sugar Snap Peas, and Feta
Chef M.J. Adams of the Corn Exchange restaurant in South Dakota serves this refreshing dish garnished with a dollop of softened, house-made harissa butter. She often purchases Greek feta in bulk blocks but also uses feta from Amaltheia Organic Dairy in Montana. Dry feta makes for a cleaner-looking salad; a creamier variety adds lushness to the final dish. You can find preserved lemons at specialty food stores or Mediterranean markets.
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- 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 cups uncooked Israeli couscous
- 2 cups sugar snap peas, blanched and julienned lengthwise into thirds
- 2 whole preserved lemons, quartered
- ½ cup fresh mint, cut into very fine strips (chiffonade)
- 1 Meyer or regular lemon, juiced
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- In a large pot, heat 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the couscous and stir. Lower the heat to medium, and cook until al dente, about 4 to 6 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of cooking water.
- Return the couscous to the pot, and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil and the reserved tablespoon of water. Mix well with a rubber spatula, and pour out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring the couscous after 5 minutes to prevent clumping.
- In a large bowl, combine the couscous, sugar snap peas, preserved lemons, mint, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the lemon juice. Toss gently with a spatula, to avoid bruising the mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper (the feta will increase the salt content, so go easy).
- Gently fold the feta into the salad, so the cheese doesn’t fall apart. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, if needed. Serve in a large bowl, garnished with parsley. (If prepared several hours ahead and chilled, remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.)
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