May’s Sandy Spice, Hawayej, is an Yemenite inspired blend of aromatic turmeric, cumin, and black pepper. This spice is amazing in stews and perfect for elevating the flavor of roasted vegetables. You can also blend with olive oil and yogurt and use as a marinade for grilled chicken.
Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad
Makes 8 to 10 appetizer or side-dish servings
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
One 16-ounce box Israeli couscous (2¾ cups)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch medium asparagus, trimmed
1 cup (about 4 ounces) haricots verts or green beans, trimmed
1 large zucchini, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons Hawayej spice blend
1 cup Brussels sprouts, thinly shaved
5 large or 7 medium dates, pitted and cut into small dice
3 oranges, segmented and cut into ¼-inch pieces
¼ cup marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil
¼ cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1. In a medium saucepan, heat ¼ cup of the oil. Add the couscous and toast over low heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat, stirring once or twice, until the couscous is tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Prepare a medium-hot grill or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. In a mixing bowl, toss the asparagus, haricots verts and zucchini with 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 tablespoon of Hawayej spice blend and a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables, turning once, until crisp-tender. (You can grill the vegetables all at once over a grill or individually on a grill pan). Transfer to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, cut the asparagus into thirds, the haricots verts in half and the zucchini into ½-inch chunks.
3. Add the Brussels sprouts and grilled vegetables to the bowl with the couscous. Add the dates, oranges, almonds, lemon juice, herbs, the remaining tablespoon of oil and the remaining 1½ teaspoons of Hawayej and toss gently. Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with the feta cheese and serve cold or at room temperature.
Photography by Thomas Schauer.