Pearl couscous is a fabulously showy version of the pantry staple. It looks gorgeous and tastes delicious in this Roasted Tomato & Olive Pearl Couscous which is a macro version of tabbouleh that uses slow roasted instead of raw tomatoes. Slow roasting brings out the sweetness of cherry tomatoes in spades, and turns the garlic into a sweet, nutty-tasting paste that flavors the dressing. If you are on an anti-microbial regimen, cooking the tomatoes makes eating this tabbouleh salad possible. You will need to wash herbs very well to add them raw, or quickly sauté the chopped herbs in a little stock or olive oil before adding them to the salad.
2. Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange cut sides up, in a single layer on a large baking pan with the unpeeled garlic. Roast in the middle of oven until tomatoes are slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.
3. Squeeze roasted garlic out of its skin and puree with the olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and ½ cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth.
4. Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
5. Spread couscous in 1 layer on a baking sheet and cool 15 minutes. Transfer couscous to a bowl and stir with the pureed dressing, roasted tomatoes, olives, parsley, mint, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
Ann’s Tips and Tricks
If you are on an anti microbial diet, remove 1 tablespoon of the oil for the salad dressing ingredients. Heat the oil in a wok or small skillet and sauté the fresh chopped herbs for 2 minutes. Add the hot oil and herbs to the blended dressing, and stir to mix. Make salad as directed.
Roasted tomatoes, dressing, and couscous can be made 1 day ahead and kept separately, covered and chilled. Bring to room temperature before making the salad.
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