Couscous without sufficient dressing or flavourings is mildly wheaty tasting but also pretty BORING. Give it some oomph with harissa and spice and a nice jab of salty sweetness with olives, tomatoes and raisins.
200g (7 oz) couscous Boiling water for couscous and raisins ¼ cup golden raisins 2 medium vine tomatoes, diced and drained in a sieve for 15 minutes 2 Tbsp pine nuts Olive oil Flaky sea salt ½ cup loosely packed mint ½ cup loosely packed coriander leaves 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1½ Tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp harissa paste 1 tsp salt ½ tsp ground ginger ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 70g (2½ oz) green olives, halved
1 Put the couscous in a bowl and pour over 250 ml (1 cup) boiling water. Stir once, then cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Fluff up with a fork, cover again and leave until cool. Put raisins in a small bowl, pour over boiling water to cover, and leave to plump for 15 minutes. Drain. Dice tomatoes, transfer to a sieve and drain for 15 minutes.
2 Fry pine nuts in a small oiled pan over a gentle heat until they colour. Transfer to a plate and season with sea salt.
3 Roughly chop mint and coriander and add to cooled couscous with drained raisins and tomatoes. Whisk extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, harissa paste, salt, ginger and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Pour over couscous and toss well.
4 Scatter pine nuts and olives over the top of couscous and serve.
If you can find Moroccan olives for this couscous, all the better. I love the pitted green olives Les Olives du Marche by Crespo – they’re widely available.
If harissa paste is not available, use harissa powder mixed to a paste with a little water. Failing that, a little chilli powder and smoked paprika will add plenty of hot spicy flavour.
Serve couscous with lamb, chicken, beef and fish dishes, or with roasted or char-grilled vegetables.