Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday Dinners: Cous-Cous Topped with Eggplant, Red Onion, Zucchini, Tomato, and Toasted Pine Nuts

Actually, this wasn't the main dish for Sunday's dinner; it was a side--but it could so be a main dish!
That's the beauty of small plates: they can also plan starring roles. This Sunday's dinner came about from our garden produce (eggplant and basil), the market (gorgeous tomatoes, zucchini, red onions, red leaf lettuce, corn, and watermelon), and our guests' preferences.

So here was the menu:

Mango-Peach Champagne Cocktail

Brazilian cheese puffs
Guacamole with Grapes and Nuts, with Fresh Corn-Tortilla Chips 
Manchego Cheese (and crackers) 
Havarti and Dill Cheese (and crackers) 

Seth’s Famous Grilled Ribs (my husband makes the best ribs ever...)
Grilled Pesto-Chicken
Cous-Cous topped with Eggplant, Red Onion, Zucchini, Tomato, and Toasted Pine Nuts
Baby Arugula with Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad topped with a Light Vinaigrette
Red Leaf Lettuce with Roasted Corn Salad topped with a Light Vinaigrette


Today I'm going to share the Cous-Cous dish; on Wed the watermelon salad (and one of these days, Seth's ribs!) 

Cous-Cous Topped with Sautéed Eggplant, Red Onion, Zucchini, Tomato, and Toasted Pine Nuts
(Ah--you could serve this vegetable mixture on top of rice, or pasta--or just on its own!)

Serves about 10 as a main dish, and about 5 as a side

Olive oil 
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 red onions, coarsely chopped
1 large eggplant, diced into bite-sized chunks
8 to 10 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
White wine 
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 zucchini (medium size) sliced into rounds and then halves or quarters
1 tablespoon butter (or oil)
1 shallot
8 ounces of cous-cous (I used Israeli) 
2 cups chicken broth 
Toasted pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
Fresh basil or parsley for garnish (optional!) 

Heat the oil in a medium-size sauté pan. Add the garlic, and then one of the red onions (or about half of the whole quantity of chopped ones!). Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally. When the eggplant and onions have started to soften, add the tomatoes. Then add a splash or two of white wine and let it cook off. Taste, add salt, and continue cooking until the eggplant reaches the tenderness you enjoy! Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer into a bowl. 

Heat a bit more oil. Add the remaining onions, and then the zucchini. Again, cook until the desired tenderness is reached. Add wine if desired (I always like to add a splash or two; it adds flavor and liquid!). Once it's ready, just set aside. 

Heat the butter (or oil) in a pan with a top. Add the shallot and stir. Add the cous-cous and, over medium heat and while stirring occasionally, cook until it starts to brown. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and then cover and lower the heat. Let the cous-cous simmer until the broth is absorbed, and the cous-cous is tender (about 10 minutes). 

Just before serving, add the eggplant mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir to combine. Taste and season. Blanket the cous-cous on the bottom of a dish. Top with the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top, and add the fresh herbs if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy! 

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