Ma Belle Mere and her sister Danielle made this salad for my family on a hot summer day in the Loire Valley where we were vacationing. The crunch of cucumber, soft and fruity tomatoes, the sharp tang of capers and lemon juice and fragrant olive oil and mint were refreshing and evocative of Algeria and Italy, where Marie-Paule and Danielle originate.
- 1 cup cous cous, (preferably fine grain if you can find it but medium grain will do)
- 2 pickling cucumbers, peeled and diced small
- 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 tablespoon of small capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- fine sea salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup diced green Bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves.
- Place cous cous in a microwave safe container and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of water. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Let rest, covered for another two minutes then remove the cover. Separate the grains with your hands by rolling the grains between the palms of your hands
- Toss everything else together in the bowl with the couscous. Adjust the seasonings as you like, more or less salt, mint, juice or oil. Eat immediately as the cous cous will continue to absorb the oil and juice and will seem dry.
This salad can easily include or exclude items. Sometimes I put some onions or toasted pine nuts or raisin. Sometimes I omit the capers if I have a guest that doesn’t like them. If you don’t like Mint, use Basil, Marjoram, Parsley or Cilantro instead.