Couscous with Fresh Garbanzos, Feta and Alguashte Dukkah

Time35 minutes
YieldsServes 4
A blend of za'atar and ground pepitas showered over couscous and fresh garbanzo beans mixed with feta and green olives.
(Silvia Razgova/For The Times)
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Simple toasted couscous is a wonderful canvas for fresh garbanzo beans dressed with lots of olive oil, feta and Castelvetrano olives. The whole dish is sprinkled with alguashte dukkah, a brilliant mashup mix that Briseño-González came up with by adding ground pepitas, or alguashte — used as a seasoning in many Latin cuisines — to za’atar to make a cheater’s version of dukkah, the Middle Eastern spice mix that uses many similar spices and seeds as za’atar but adds nuts.


In a medium saucepan, combine the garbanzos and 2 teaspoons of salt, then cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the beans are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the feta, olives, ¼ cup olive oil, the lemon juice, chile flakes and season with pepper; reserve.


In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the couscous and cook, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the water and add the parsley, tarragon and 1 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, then cover and cook until the couscous is cooked through and has absorbed all the liquid, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and uncover. Drizzle the couscous with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and gently fluff the grains with a fork. Let rest while you prepare the dukkah.


Finely chop 2 tablespoons pepitas and set aside. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons pepitas in a spice grinder or small food processor or blender and pulse until finely ground, stopping the grinder halfway through to scrape the sides or the bottom for an even grind, about 20 seconds. Transfer the ground and chopped pepitas to a small bowl and mix in the za’atar and ¼ teaspoon salt and season with freshly ground pepper.


Divide the couscous among four serving plates and spoon over the garbanzo-feta salad. Drizzle everything with more olive oil and sprinkle with the alguashte dukkah. Serve with lemon wedges.

To shell fresh garbanzo beans
Starting with 1 pound fresh in-shell garbanzo beans (or another fresh bean like romano), remove their thin outer shell. This will take a while if doing it alone; recruit others in your home to help you. You should get about 2 cups shelled beans. Transfer the beans to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or until ready to use.