19 novembre 2013

Festive Cous Cous

 la ricetta in italiano qui

I served this alternative but festive couscous at my birthday party last year and it was a nice delicious surprise, ideal in small glasses as an aperitif, perfect for a healthier or vegetarian style.

As we are all invited to a Thanksgiving dinner party chez Joan, for this final Creative Cooking Crew’s challenge (then the group will take a holiday break until the new year) to bring an appetizer to have with a cocktail before dinner, I'm going to share again this recipe because it's so festive and celebrative: pomegranate adds a peculiar touch of party style in everywhere.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) has always been considered the fruit of fertility, abundance and good luck. In fact XV e XVI centuries' painters often put a pomegranate in the hand of Jesus Child, alluding to the new life brought by Christ. In ancient Greece this plant was sacred to Juno (Zeus' wife) and Venus (goddess of love ). Roman brides used to weave branches of pomegranate in their hair. The significant number of its grains has inspired many legends: in Vietnam they use to halve the fruit whiich will bring two hundred children, Turkish brides throw the fruit to the ground and they will have as many babies as the grains released. In Dalmatia the husband takes a pomegranate plant from his father-in-law's garden to his own garden. In Indian they believe that the juice of this fruit is very active against infertility.

 couscous festivo

Serving 30/32 individual glasses:

half a kilo cous cous
3 or 4 big pumpkin slice
2 ripe pomegranates
walnuts and pistachios
pumpkin seeds
rosemary, optional
extra virgin olive oil
apple cider vinegar

 couscous festivo

- Soak cous cous in lightly salted boiling water, following the instructions on the package, let cool and pass through fingers, drizzle with a little oil.
- Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin into small cubes (if you like you can leave the skin, is edible) and roast in a large frying pan with a little oil and a sprig of rosemary, at high heat for a few minutes, allowing a little crispy crust, and then at low fire and covered with a lid to soften inside, although it must remain crunchy, season with salt.
- Toast walnuts, pistachios and pumpkin seeds in oven a few minutes. Halve pomegranates and remove berries.
- In a bowl combine cous cous and pumpkin, then nuts and pomegranate berries, drizzle with a little oil and a few tablespoon of vinegar.
- Cous cous and pumpkin can be prepared and assembled  in advance, but add dried fruit and pomegranate just before serving.

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