Call me unpatriotic, but over the 4th of July weekend, amongst barbeques and oppressive Phoenician heat, I stayed cool inside with David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris. David touches lightly on living in the “City of Lights” and offers humorous anecdotes and plenty of delicious recipes to try. Above all that, I was reminiscing about my last trip to Paris. It’s not my favorite city – thought I wouldn’t have minded trading places with Owen Wilson in “Midnight in Paris” and talking writing with the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein. Paris is (gross understatement) a beautiful city. And if you had to guess, each time I’m there I pretty much eat pastries and chocolate. All the time. Needless to say, Lebovitz’s book, with apt and delectable descriptions of food had me hankering for April, when Casey and I are planning (fingers crossed) a trip.
All this mention patisserie, chocolaterie, boulangerie, and specialized shops – for poultry, or fruits/veg, of pork, etc – started a craving for a dish with fresh flavors. Something a little less homogenous than the big-box grocery store feel I get from the ingredients I purchase…at the big-box grocery store down the street. Not that I’m against said grocery – I’ll be the first to admit I match my coupons to their sales and get the best deals I can, when I can.
When I think fresh – I think of the smell of herbs cut straight from the garden, or the sweetness of just picked corn on the cob. Being that it’s July, and I live in a city where 115 degrees is normal for this time of year (read: all my herbs have since died), I was thrilled to find a beautiful and bountiful bushel of flat leaf parsley as a local produce store. Chopped and added to the couscous below, this dish becomes a bright, satisfying summer supper. Paired with a mildly marinated and grilled skirt steak and cool, crisp glass of wine makes me think I should make this more often. On plus, the couscous salad is delicious cold, and perfect for picnics in the park (if you’re into that sort of thing), or a portable lunch when no microwave is around (or, as was the case with me, just too lazy to heat it up)
Couscous, lentil, and parsley salad with grilled skirt steak
1 cup couscous
1/3 cup red lentils
1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon fenugreek powder
1 and 1/2 cups of low sodium (or homemade) vegetable broth
2 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Juice from a medium lemon
Pinch of kosher salt and a larger (about 1/4 teaspoon) pinch of pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons of Nuna’s Flavors Vinaigrette
Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the couscous, lentils, and fenugreek powder. Cover the pot, remove from heat, and let sit about 5 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed by the couscous.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, chop the parsley. Add the parsley to the cooked couscous, followed by the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Combine well.
If you have Nuna’s Vinaigrette, then add it just before serving. If you don’t have Nuna’s, add some olive oil to the couscous and combine. You may also want to add some mint or other fresh herbs.
For the skirt steak:
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
Allow the steak to marinate with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper for at least 30 minutes. Then grill until cooked to desired doneness. Slice thinly and serve along side the couscous and parsley salad