Dear SOS: We had dinner at the Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena last week and loved the couscous. Could you provide the recipe?
Dear Barbara: Vertical Wine Bistro was happy to share its recipe for Israeli couscous. It features large, pearly couscous flavored with chopped fresh herbs and garlic and a touch of bright tang from lemon juice and vinegar. It’s rounded out with complex notes from the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout. The dish is perfect made ahead of time to give the flavors time to marry before serving.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low heat. Add the white onion and ras el hanout and sweat until the onion is translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the couscous over low heat and stir for 3 minutes, then add the broth. Raise heat to bring to a boil, and cook until the couscous is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Spread the cooked couscous onto a shallow rimmed pan to cool, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, combine the red and green onions, bell pepper, tarragon, mint, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and remaining oil along with the couscous, gently mixing with your hands to separate the couscous and fold together the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to give the flavors time to marry. Remove from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving to come to room temperature, and stir once more before serving.
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