Delia

Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad with Harissa-style Dressing

This salad is one of the best vegetarian dishes I've ever served. The combination of goats' cheese and roasted vegetables on a cool bed of couscous mixed with salad leaves and a spicy dressing is positively five-star.


Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a starter

This recipe is taken from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection and Delia Smith's Summer Collection.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad with Harissa-style Dressing
Ingredients
For the roasted vegetables:
 1 small aubergine
 2 medium courgettes
 1 lb (450 g) cherry tomatoes, skinned
 1 small red pepper, de-seeded and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) squares
 1 small bulb fennel, chopped
 1 large onion, sliced and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) squares
 2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn so that they stay quite visible
 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 2 oz (50 g) pitted black olives, chopped
 1 heaped tablespoon capers, drained
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the couscous:
 10 oz (275 g) medium couscous
 18 fl oz (500 ml) vegetable stock (or see related recipe below to make your own)
 4 oz (110 g) firm goats' cheese
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the salad:
 1 x 3 oz (75 g) packet mixed salad leaves (such as lettuce, coriander leaves, flat-leaf parsley, rocket)
For the dressing:
 4 fl oz (110 ml) extra virgin olive oil
 1 rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper
 2 level tablespoons ground cumin
 2 heaped tablespoons tomato purée
 4 tablespoons lime juice (about 2 limes)
To garnish:
 1 level tablespoon black onion seeds
Equipment

You will also need a large, shallow roasting tin.

Method

First prepare the roasted vegetables: prepare the aubergine and courgettes ahead of time by cutting them into 1 inch (2.5 cm) dice, leaving the skins on. Then toss the dice in a level dessertspoon of salt and pack them into a colander with a plate on top and a heavy weight on top of the plate.

Leave them on one side for an hour so that some of the bitter juices drain out. After that, squeeze out any juices left, and dry the dice thoroughly in a clean cloth.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 9, 475°F (240°C).

Now arrange the aubergine, courgettes, tomatoes, pepper, fennel and onion in the roasting tin, sprinkle with the crushed garlic, basil and olive oil, toss everything around in the oil to get a good coating and season with salt and pepper.

Place the tin on the highest shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are toasted brown at the edges. When the vegetables are done, remove them from the oven and stir in the chopped olives and the capers then remove them to a plate to cool.

When you're ready to assemble the salad, first place the couscous in a large, heatproof bowl, then pour the boiling stock over it, add some salt and pepper, stir it with a fork, then leave on one side for 5 minutes, by which time it will have absorbed all the stock and softened.

Meanwhile cut the cheese into sugar cube-sized pieces. Make up the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into a serving jug.

To serve the salad, place the couscous in a large, wide salad bowl and gently fork in the cubes of cheese along with the roasted vegetables.

Next arrange the salad leaves on top and, just before serving, drizzle a little of the dressing over the top followed by a sprinkling of onion seeds and hand the rest of the dressing around separately.

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