I’m starting a new feature here at Cuisineous. Since it is impossible for me to cook anything without listening to music, I’ve decided to start each post with a “Cooking to:” statement. Though I have not done any independent studies to prove this, I suspect I am not the only one who needs music in the kitchen. I’m convinced it makes the food taste better.
Cooking to: GrooveLily’s “Barista Girl”
Couscous is my new favorite side dish. Yes, it can be caloric, but it’s good for you! Michi even lists it in his Happy Tier! And what’s even better is that it cooks in 5 minutes. My kind o’ side dish.
I’m using the regular stuff for this recipe, but if you want to get fancy, I highly recommend using the Israeli couscous. They’re like little tapioca pearls. OK, on to the matter at hand.
To get this dish going, set yourself up with two cloves of garlic (chopped) and about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese (grated).
Meanwhile, take a 10-oz. bag of spinach (or 10 oz. of the frozen stuff) and either rinse it in a colander or thaw and drain it. Don’t care how you do it, just get yourself some chopped, cooked spinach to work with. I chose to use the fresh stuff and wilted it down in a pan.
Trust me, this cooks down to nothing.
See! What’d I say? Now, kindly salt and pepper this please. Then evacuate, chop, and set aside.
Disclaimer: I had put olive oil in the pan before I threw the spinach in there. The spinach was also still wet (well, wetter than it should have been) and this combination led to a liquidy pool of spinach-colored oily water at the bottom of the pan. You can DEFINITELY do without that mess. I’d recommend either using a tiny bit of oil (a teaspoon should do ya) with incredibly well spun (in a salad spinner) spinach or slightly wet spinach in a dry pan. Either way, the end product should be rid of its excess moisture in one way or other. And sorry about my intrusive elbow. It seems I can’t even get out of my own way.
While the spinach is learning how to be patient, it’s time to make the couscous. I made mine according to the instructions on the box. Basically, bring two cups of water to a boil, along with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then, once that’s boiling, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stand back as the liquid bubbles and gets agitated. Then pour the whole box of couscous in, along with the two cloves of chopped garlic. Give it a quick mix, kill the heat, put the lid on the pot, set the timer for 5 minutes, and go find out what the cat did with your hair clip you heard him playing with a few minutes earlier.
Ding, it’s done! Then take your fork and fluff the couscous. This is actually a very important step. If you were to use a spoon at this stage, the couscous will all clump together. Just trust me on this. Then, throw the rest of the kids into the pool.
I also threw some parsley in there. (Why? Because it wasn’t green enough? Seriously?…..OK, fine, as always, parsley is optional.) Make sure you season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Update: Just to clarify, I used a 10 oz. box of couscous “mix” from Near East. You can find it here.
- 1 10 oz. box of plain couscous mix (I used Near East brand)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 10 oz. cooked chopped spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parsley to garnish (always optional)
- Olive oil (I used 1 tablespoon in the couscous, and about 1 tablespoon in the spinach...though that could be omitted depending on cooking method.)
- Bring two cups of water, along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, to a boil. Once boiling, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Pour in 1 box of couscous and garlic. Give a quick stir, turn off the heat, put the lid on the pot, and let stand for 5 minutes. During that time, prepare spinach. If using fresh, wilt down in a large saute pan until soft and bright green. Salt and pepper to taste, then chop into pieces. If using frozen, thaw spinach in the microwave according to package instructions, and wring out the spinach to get rid of excess water.
- Once the couscous is done, fluff with a fork until all the couscous clumps are broken up.
- Add the spinach, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Give it a stir, finish with parsley (always optional), and serve.