Vegetables with Couscous
World-renowned Chef Alain Passard has turned his laser-like attention to vegetables, and this vegetarian dish is a wonderful example of his careful art. The vegetables are cooked in butter under a cap of parchment paper. The parchment preserves the colors, aromas, and flavors intact. With argan oil, coriander, and mint, couscous is the authentic base for the Moroccan flavors in this dish. Argan oil is a fragrant oil which comes from a spiny tree which grows in Morocco, and is used as a cooking oil in Moroccan cuisine. Its flavor is reminiscent of cacao and peanuts. In addition to its fragrance, it is highly nutritious. Argan oil is available on the web from www.chefshop.chefshop.com.
- Couscous - 4 ounces
- Spring Vegetables
- Savoy Cabbage - 1/2
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 4 ounces (1 stick)
- Baby Turnips - 4, tops trimmed short, split in half
- Baby Carrots - 4, peeled, tops trimmed short
- Green Onions - 4, green portion trimmed short
- Baby Fennel Bulbs - 1, peeled and quartered
- Golden raisins - 1/4 cup
- Fleur de sel
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Parsley Sauce
- Water - 1 cup
- Salted Butter - 6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks)
- Flat Parsley - 1 bunch
- Argan oil - 1 tablespoon
- Coriander - 1 sprig, fresh, stemmed and minced
- Mint - 1 sprig, fresh, stemmed and minced
Cook the couscous according to package directions.
To prepare the vegetables: Open out each Savoy cabbage leaf. Cut each in half and trim away the stiff central vein, creating two dart-like pieces from each leaf. Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and add the vegetables, toss in the butter to glaze. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the cabbage leaves on top.
Cover with a circle of parchment paper larger than the diameter of the pan, pressing the parchment down around the edge of the pan. Simmer 3 minutes, then add the raisins. Re-cover. Simmer 1 to 2 more minutes, until the vegetables are just softened.
To make the parsley sauce: Bring the water to a boil and add the butter. Add the parsley and mix with a stick blender; strain through a fine-meshed sieve and set aside.
To serve: Toss the couscous with the Argan oil, coriander, and mint. Place a hollow ring of couscous in the center of each warmed serving plate. Arrange the glazed vegetables over the couscous. Drizzle pan juices and parsley sauce around each mound of couscous.