Fruit and Nut Couscous Salad -

Fruit and Nut Couscous Salad


Couscous is a staple of North African cooking much like rice is used in the Orient. Contrary to popular belief couscous is a type of pasta not a grain. Semolina flour is the main ingredient in the tiny granules of couscous.
This recipe uses instant couscous which is easily found in grocery stores.
Couscous readily accepts a variety of ingredients turning it into a side dish, entrée or dessert. 
We made a lot of this salad when I had the take out shop. Somewhere along the line I discovered that if the couscous is toasted first it will not clump as it does sometimes when preparing. The little granules stay separate and fluffy just the way they are supposed to. 
Low in fat and calories and high in taste, this is the perfect side dish for poultry, fish and pork or as lunch.
1 - 10 ounce package plain couscous (1 1/2 cup)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 -10 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
Zest from 1 large orange
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 to 9 minutes. Cool completely.
Cover the raisins with very hot tap water. Let sit while the rest of the salad is being prepared.
Fruit and Nut Couscous Salad – page 2
Place the couscous on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread it out as evenly as possible then shake the pan gently to distribute it evenly. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, shaking it once or twice until it is deep golden brown.
In a covered saucepan bring the broth and butter to a boil. Add the toasted couscous. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered 10 to 12 minutes. Fluff couscous gently with a fork. Cool completely.
In a large bowl stir together the pecans, raisins, couscous and parsley. Mix gently but well. 
Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, salt and orange rind together. Slowly whisk in olive oil to emulsify. Pour over the couscous mixture and mix well, stirring gently. Lastly add the mandarin orange, mixing gently.
This salad is best made one day ahead.
Note: This salad will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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