I've written before about how much I enjoy our interactions with artists, especially photographers. It's not just the beautiful pictures they take but also the genuine fun they seem to have in cooking with our Artisans' all-natural products. The other day we shared on our social media pages Laura Visioni's beautifully rustic picture of Philippos Hellenic Goods olive oil. Laura is a professional food photographer and stylist based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I love her work, which as she says on her website, "...is inspired by nature, food, and family and I have a tiny obsession with documenting the ordinary moments that compose a beautiful life."
I was really excited, though, when Laura shared a recipe she made with Agrozimi's handmade squid ink pearl couscous because it reminded me of my September Squid Dinner...great minds think alike! Yet Laura's version is lighter and fresher than mine and I think just what we need as we've "sprung forward" into Daylight Savings Time.
If you're not familiar with couscous, or if you're thinking of the finer North African couscous, you might be pleasantly surprised by pearl couscous. It's sometimes called Israeli couscous here in the States. In Greece, women would patiently roll out the little balls of pasta to make a hearty meal. Agrozimi has kept this tradition - the couscous is still made by hand and this third-generation family business uses only the finest durum wheat semolina and fresh spring water from their village of Arávissos. They add a touch of pasteurized squid ink, and slowly and naturally air dry the couscous for a subtly-flavored and distinctively-colored treat.
For the salad
Agrozimi handmade squid ink pearl couscous Fresh calamari, cut into rings
1 red bell pepper, diced small (about the size of the cooked couscous pearls)
For the dressing
3 parts Philippos Hellenic Goods EVOO
1 part lemon juice or acid of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
For the garnish
Fresh herbs (I used dill and flat-leaf parsley)
(you can also use a sprinkling of Sparoza's cooking blend with herbs & lemon zest)
Cook the couscous in salted water until it's "al dente", a bit less than the package indicates. Drain and rinse it and set it aside in a serving bowl.
Poach or quickly pan-sear the calamari rings very briefly to ensure tenderness, then salt and add to the couscous.
Add the diced peppers and lots of fresh herbs.
Toss the salad components with the dressing to taste; adjust for salt and pepper.
Garnish with more herbs and a dusting of lemon zest. Enjoy!
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