Monday, April 27, 2009

Couscous, Green Beans and Salmon

I'm on a roll with the salmon these days. I bought several cans a few years ago that were on a seemingly permanent two-for-the-price-of-one sale, and I just noticed a few weeks ago that the cans that were left were getting close to their expiration date. And these days I don't want to be wasting any food, so I have been eating a lot of salmon lately.

Green beans were on sale at the grocery store last weekend so I picked up a pound or so, brought them home and trimmed and blanched them. I've gotten in the habit of blanching certain vegetables as soon as I get them home. That way, they're ready for whatever I decide to do with them when I'm ready to use them.

I had one last can of salmon that needed to be used before the end of the month, and I've had success with green beans, salmon, and couscous before, so I decided to make something with those ingredients. I had some roasted pistachios I bought a while ago (and had just eaten some the day before the recall so I knew they were ok), and I knew they would work really well in the couscous. I also had some radishes left over from the week before's salad and with my new determination not to waste anything, I thought they might add an interesting element there as well.

And they did. Throwing them in after the couscous were cooked allowed the flavor to soften just a little, without losing too much of their crunch. I've also found that couscous taste much better when they're cooked in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water. Add herbs, nuts, and a little vegetable crunch and you have a fast, delicious side to complement just about any protein.

I wanted a vinaigrette to bring everything together and to keep the couscous moist, and I had some beautiful navel oranges that Ithought would complement the other flavors. I've been in a zesting mood lately too, so I decided to zest the orange before I juiced it and throw the zest in with the beans. It brought everything together beautifully.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. green beans, trimmed, halved and blanched
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp orange zest

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
juice from one orange, less 2 Tbsp
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 Tbsp dried thyme
6 radishes, quartered and sliced
1/4 cup toasted pistachios, chopped

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp olive oil

1 14.75-oz. can fancy sockeye or pink salmon, boned

To blanch beans: Bring water to a boil in large saucepan. Turn off heat, add beans, cover and let sit for 4-5 minutes. Drain and place in a cold water bath to keep beans from cooking more. Can be used immediately, or storedin the refrigerator for a few days.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, salt, and pepper, and saute until the onions are tender and starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add green beans and cook until just warmed through, about five more minutes. Add orange zest and stir to mix it in, then turn off the heat.

In the meantime, bring the chicken broth, orange juice, and enough water to make 1-1/2 cups to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat. Add couscous and thyme, stir, and cover. Lower heat and let simmer for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Add pistachios and radishes mix them in as you fluff up the couscous with a fork.

Combine white wine vinegar, orange juice, mustard and salt. Whisk together briskly. Add olive oil in a stream, whisking the whole time until an emulsion has formed.

Make a small mound of couscous on the plate, then top with the green beans. Drizzle the dressing over the beans, then arrange the salmon over the beans.

Exported from Home Cookin 5.7 (

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