Israeli Couscous For The Win

Kerri Baker Magazines

I'm a compulsive magazine buyer. None of that "read it on the inter-webs" thing. I want the actual paper, trees be damned. I know, I know. That's not how we are supposed to be in this age of going green. It's my indulgence.

I tear out pages, snap photos of products so I remember to buy them at the drugstore. One day I may even make a vision board. And recipes!!! I love, love, love a good magazine recipe.

Kerri Baker Blog Cooking Ingredients

My current favorite is Fregola with Charred Onions and Dill, in the March 2017 issue of Real Simple. I believe it was in a collection of recipes that travel well for picnics. Who doesn’t like a great picnic recipe? Everything about it sounds so good. Honestly, everything about it is so good. I've made it several times and as with any great recipe, I've made some adjustments. I leave some things out, replace the Fregola with Israeli couscous. Little things like that. 

It's so easy. First I put my cast iron stove top grill over two burners and heat to medium. If you don't have a grill, use a griddle pan. While that heats up, cook the fregola in boiling salted water according to the package directions and set it aside on a cookie sheet to cool. And by fregola, I really mean Israeli couscous. They are very similar and the couscous is much easier to find. 

Kerri Baker Pilates Blog Cooking

While the couscous cooks and cools, slice the spring onions in half lengthwise and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. If all you can find are green onions, they will do. Just pick the fattest ones you can. Char them on the grill for about six minutes then set aside to cool. The first time I did this, I almost burned off my fingertips. So really, just take the time to let them cool. Once cool, chop them up. 

While the onions cool, zest and juice your lemon. If you don't have a zester, use a veggie peeler and remove the yellow skin, leaving the white behind, and then mince it. The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons zest/one teaspoon juice. I use it all because I am a huge lemon fan.

Again, original recipe calls for a half cup of butter. That is not to my taste. I cut it to two tablespoons. If you're vegan, you can just use olive oil. The butter/oil mixture is just a bind for the dill and lemon (in my mind anyway). Mix the lemon, softened butter, garlic and dill in a small bowl then salt and pepper to taste. They put a small shallot in as well. I skip it because I found the garlic/onion combo enough. Your call.  

Toss everything together in a bowl and you are done. If you are a poultry eater, I like to add diced chicken breast. If not, lemon pepper tofu would be excellent as well. Everyone needs a go to Spring/Summer lunch and this WILL BE MINE.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Israeli Couscous with Charred Onions and Dill

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous 

  • 1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and halved lengthwise

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish 

  • Salt and black pepper 

  1. Cook couscous in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Rinse, drain, and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside to cool. 
  2. Preheat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Toss together onions, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Grill or griddle onions, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and white parts are tender, about 6 minutes. Coarsely chop. 
  3. If your butter is not super soft, melt it in a small pan or the microwave.
  4. Stir butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and dill. Salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Just before serving, toss dill butter with cooked couscous and charred onions. Top with a little more dill.
  6. Add a protein if you want and enjoy!
photos by  charitybakerphoto  (with the exception of the stack of magazines)

photos by charitybakerphoto (with the exception of the stack of magazines)