It seems to be that time of year where maple seems to go well with anything. This dish is no exception. Parsnips and maple seem to be quite a lovely marriage. The anise like flavors mingling with the sticky sweet maple bouquet really can define a dish nicely with a big fat exclamation point! The chives, pecans give a nice depth in flavor and texture. The pomegranate seeds are the perfect combination of color and zip making this a wonderfully balanced meld of flavors.
A little factoid about Israeli couscous I found interesting:
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, asked Eugen Proper, one of the founders of the Osem food company, to quickly devise a wheat-based substitute to rice. Consequently, it was nicknamed “Ben-Gurion’s rice” by the people. The company took up the challenge and developed ptitim, which is made of hard wheat flour and roasted in an oven. The product was instantly a success, after which ptitim made in the shape of small, dense balls (which the company termed “couscous”) was added to the original rice-shaped ptitim.
Maple Glazed Parsnip and Israeli Couscous Salad
- 150g Israeli couscous
- 1tsp turmeric
- 1tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 courgette
- 50g pecan nuts
- 2tbs maple syrup
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 1 large parsnip, peeled
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1tsp savoury chopped
- 2tbs chive batons
- 50g raisins
- 100ml strong hot Assam tea
- 2tbs pomegranate seeds
- salt and pepper
Pour the hot strong Assam tea over the raisins and let them soak while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Bring a medium size saucepan filled with water and 1tsp of salt to the boil, add the Israeli couscous and turmeric to the rapid boiling water.
Cook the Israeli couscous until al dente, just like pasta.
Drain the cooked couscous in a colander, run cold water over to cool it down completely.
Decant the cooled Israeli couscous into a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil mix and set aside.
Peel the parsnip, use a parisienne scoop to form parsnip pearls. Do the same with the courgette.
Heat a non-stick frying pan, add the butterand once the butter starts to foam, add the parsnips and seasoning. Sauté until the parsnips start to colour golden brown.
Add the courgettes and pecan nuts and sauté for two minutes.
Add the maple syrup, cook for a couple of minutes until the syrup become sticky, add the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
Add the sautéed parsnips and courgettes to the cooled Israeli couscous.
Drain the soaked raisins.Add these to the salad with the chopped savoury, chive batons and pomegranate seeds. Season to taste.
Serve either hot or cold.
Makes 6 portions