This is a versatile side dish that can be served at any temperature.
- 1 1/2 cups couscous (regular or whole wheat)
- 1 cup freshly shucked English peas or frozen peas
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (possibly more, to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 scallions, minced (use as much of the greens as feasible, in addition to the whites)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cayenne to taste
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- Minced flat-leaf parsley
- Wedges of lemon, for garnish
The first few steps can be made a day ahead of time.
- 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 mircorwave), cold, or at room temperature, topped with walnuts and a little parsley, and accompanied by squeezable wedges of lemon.