A salad for you, wherever you are19

Posted on April 24, 2008 by ChristieDinner Time

[Lamb, eggplant and feta cous cous salad]

This is my mini attempt at globalising my blog; a salad that appeals for the weather in both hemispheres.

It’s Spring in the North, flowers are blooming and it’s warming up, so make the most of gorgeous seasonal lamb.

It’s Autumn in the South, but please don’t indulge in stodgy food just yet, choose to eat this warm salad instead.

I’m a firm believer that salads are not just a Summer thing, they’re more than just leaves and dressing, and if you think outside those constraints the possibilities are endless. Warm, cold, hot, room temperature – they’re all good. It’s no coincidence that the salads category in my recipe index has the most entries!

I really love the creativity of composing salads; choosing the protein, carbohydrate and vegetable elements, harmonising the salty, bitter, sweet and sour flavours and balancing the soft, crunchy, hot and cold textures. It’s a real art form and one I never tire of.

After reading this back, I’m hoping you don’t all think I’m crazy talking about salads like this! Please let me know if you feel this way too…

Cous cous is a grain that I’ve only been cooking with for about a year now. Believe it or not, I used to hate cous cous, and all because of my first experience at a cafe where it was served drier than uncared for elbow skin. (Sorry for the gross reference).

Dryness is the enemy of cous cous; the crucial element is a delicious hot liquid for the grains to soak up and transform into heavenly fluffy goodness. Not too much, mind you, or it becomes clumpy. But with just the right amount you’ll have the perfect side dish or salad base in approximately 10mins.

I hope you’ll give this salad a go – it’s deeply savoury and extremely satisfying. Feel free to substitute any ingredients that you don’t particularly fancy, I’ve even provided some suggestions at the end.

Happy cooking, Christie

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Lamb, eggplant and feta cous cous salad
serves 4 (as a main course salad)

This salad is just as delicious without the lamb for all my lovely vegetarian readers. Obviously hot vegetable stock would also need to be substituted.

1/2 cup cous cous
3/4 cup hot chicken stock
4 tablespoons semi dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, skin on, diced
2 lamb steaks or chops, approx 200g each
100g goats milk feta cheese, diced or crumbled
4 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, juiced and zested

Spread the diced eggplant onto a large baking tray in one layer. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes, or until tender and crisped around the edges.

Meanwhile, place the cous cous, hot chicken stock and tomatoes in a large bowl, stir to combine, then cover with a tea towel or cling wrap and set aside for 10 mins.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy frying pan and cook the lamb chops to your liking. (I did mine rare, pictured above). Remove to a plate and rest in a warm place while you prepare the salad.

Fluff the cous cous mixture with a fork and add the eggplant, feta, parsley, lemon juice and zest and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season if necessary and serve topped with the lamb. Enjoy!

Need variations? Try these.
Vegie: Sweet potato is a good substitute for the eggplant.
Herby: Coriander (cilantro), mint or basil would also work a treat.
Chicky: Grilled or roasted chicken could easily replace the lamb.

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