This is a versatile side dish that can be served at any temperature. Steps 1-3 can be made a day ahead of time.
- 1 1/2 cups couscous, regular or whole-wheat
- 1 cup English peas or frozen peas, freshly shucked
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin, ground
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (possibly more, to taste), fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 3 scallions, minced (use as much of the greens as feasible, in addition to the whites)
- Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- Cayenne, to taste
- 1 cup California walnuts, lightly toasted, chopped
- Parsley, flat leaf, minced
- Lemon wedges, for garnish
- Place the couscous in a medium-large bowl, and add 1 cup boiling hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate and let it stand until the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, steam the peas over simmering water for 3 to 5 minutes, or until done to your liking. (Alternatively, you can defrost 1 cup frozen peas by placing them in a strainer and running them under room temperature tap water for a minute or two.) Drain well and set aside.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork from the bottom to prevent clumps. As you fluff it, sprinkle in the salt, olive oil, cumin, lemon juice, and garlic. Gently stir in the peas. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill until shortly before serving.
- Stir in the scallions about 10 minutes before serving. Add black pepper and cayenne (and possibly correct salt) to taste. Serve warm (reheated in a microwave), cold, or at room temperature, topped with walnuts and a little parsley, and accompanied by squeezable wedges of lemon.