Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Colors and flavors, it's the cous cous contamination!

How do you like some contaminations of cultures, colors and flavors? In the Sicilian cuisine this is possible thanks to a unique dish that is called cous cous! Healthy, colorful, light and fresh, it is perfect for the summer time! 

If we want to match this recipe with a fashion accessory, the perfect one would be the colorful and trendy necklace of this summer. Check it out on Francesca's fashioncooking amazing article. She knows how to combine the two!

A drop of history: As you may already know the cous cous was introduced in Sicily by the North-Africans which still prepare it with mutton meat and cooked vegetables (carrots, onions, peas) so is  definitely more of a winter dish!

In Sicily the most famous cous cous goes with the fish soup. You find it in the western part of the island: Trapani, San Vito, Erice. By contrast in Palermo we have a different version, perfect for veggies we usually cook it with tomatoes, bell peppers, mushroom, aubergine/eggplant, cougette/zucchini and some fresh scented mint. At least this is the recipe I love making, but if you are inspired by other ingredients, you can add them as you like. Once I put olives, rocket salads and mozzarella cheese as well, but this plain version is the one I love the most.

Ingredients & preparation for 6:

400 gr. cous cous
1 cougette/zucchini
1 aubergine/eggplant
1 big bell pepper orange or yellow (or you can use half orange and half yellow)
3 tomatoes
5 medium sized field mushrooms 
a bunch of fresh mint
olive oil

This recipe takes about 2 hours (plus one hour in the fridge). You start with washing your vegs under running water, than cut them in pieces as small as possible. Put the tomatoes aside on a different plate. Once you have all your ingredients in pieces, on a frying pan put a drizzle of olive oil on a medium heat and sauteè all the vegetables except the tomatoes. Stir them from time to time until they become well cooked and golden brown. When they are ready turn the heat off. Wash and chop the mint and add it in the pan together with the tomatoes and then place the mix in a large bowl.

In the same frying pan prepare the cous cous by following the instructions (usually add some water and salt and let cook it for 10 minutes).
Once the cous cous is ready, stir it with a fork to separate the little grains. Let it cool down and finally add it to the veggies in the bowl. Keep mixing all together for about 5 minutes to reach
the "perfect contamination" and put the bowl in the fridge for at least one hour. Serve fresh but not cold.

This dish is so good we even have a Festival to celebrate it every September!
Personally I love it, during summer, because it is perfect for every occasion: for a lunch when you come back from seaside, for a picnic at the park or for a buffet party on the day of your birthday.  

It's fresh and light, easy to make and all these colors will just cheer you up. Enjoy!


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