This variation came together moments before an impromptu picnic in the backyard. Paired with a glass of lemonade or sparkling wine, it's casual and easy for entertaining. My neighbors, husband and I all loved it!
Pearl Couscous with Mint and Pecans
serves 2 as main, 4 as a side
1 medium-sized red onion, cut into slivers
1/2 cup pearl couscous
1/2 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped (reserve a few whole leaves for garnish)
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped and toasted
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan on medium heat, sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for approximately 20 minutes. The onion should be soft and slightly caramelized, but not completely reduced (as you would do for a French onion soup, for example). Sprinkle the onions with a dash of salt.
In the meantime, chop the pecans and toast in a smaller skillet on a low flame for about 5 minutes. Nuts should be aromatic, just lightly toasted. Stir frequently to prevent burning (they can go from toasty to burnt in just a second, so keep an eye on them the entire time). Chop the mint, reserving a few leaves for garnish.
Place couscous in a medium-large bowl. Boil water, measure it to 1/2 cup mark and add one more little splash. Pour water into bowl with couscous. Cover with foil for about 12 minutes. Remove foil, then add cooked onion, toasted pecans, fresh mint and a tablespoon of olive oil and vinegar. Stir until evenly mixed, and sprinkle with a little fresh mint on top.