Grilled vegetable couscous with chilled tomato sauce

    50 min

    Lightly charred vegetables and herbs lend a wonderful flavour to this easy couscous.

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    Serves: 6 

    • 250 g (9 oz) couscous
    • 3 red peppers
    • 200 g (7 oz) leeks
    • 200 g (7 oz) courgettes
    • 150 g (5½ oz) fennel
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Juice of 2 lemons
    • 8 fresh mint leaves, shredded
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • Salt and black pepper
    • For the sauce
    • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
    • 4 teaspoons caster sugar
    • 700 ml (1 pint 5 fl oz) tomato passata
    • 450 g (1 lb) plum tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • To garnish: 200 g (7 oz) Greek yoghurt; fresh basil leaves

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:50min 

    1. Heat the grill to its highest setting. Put the couscous into a large heatproof bowl and pour over 400 ml (14 fl oz) of boiling water. Stir and leave to stand for 20 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then allow this syrup to cool a little.
    3. Place the passata in a large bowl. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl with the basil and the vinegar syrup. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper, then chill until required.
    4. Cut the peppers in half lengthways and grill them, cut side down, until the skin is well blackened. Transfer them to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes.
    5. Thickly slice the leeks and courgettes and cut the fennel into thin wedges, chopping and reserving any leaves. Spread out the leeks, courgettes and fennel wedges on the grill pan, brush them all over with oil and grill for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned, turning them over halfway through cooking and removing each piece as soon as it is done.
    6. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, skin and deseed them, then dice the flesh and add it to the couscous, with the other grilled vegetables. Stir in the lemon juice, mint, parsley and fennel leaves, and season to taste.
    7. Serve the couscous at room temperature. Pile it in mounds on individual dishes, surround with a moat of chilled tomato sauce, spoon a little yoghurt onto the sauce and garnish with basil leaves.

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