Easier to prepare than it looks, this Middle Eastern cold plate of compressed couscous decorated with fava beans is a festive presentation for warm-weather eating. Drizzled with a tangy and slippery drizzle of tahini oil, lemon juice, and garlic, its flavors collide refreshingly on the tongue, surprizingly without being overly cluttered. Although samplings of smoky, mashed eggplant add another traditional taste, it is not essential to the recipe. Its absence will not be noticed, but its presence will be noticed more with the elusive charm that only charcoal can impart to a dish. The meaty, dark maroon fava bean is the best variety for this recipe since its robust color and texture complement the large pearl couscous for a stylish meal.
Fava Bean Couscous Timbale Salad with Tahini Dressing (My own recipe)
4 cups cooked, cooled couscous (prepared to package instructions; the large pearl variety is sometimes known as Israeli)
2 cups cooked fava beans
3 tablepoons tahini oil, easily skimmed from tin of tahini, given its tendency to separate from the paste
1 tablespoon tahini
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 large clove pressed or minced garlic (I grated mine very finely.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small handful curly parsley leaves
1 cup smoky, grilled eggplant flesh, mashed (fresh or store bought)
Divide and press couscous into four 1-cup capacity ramekins. Cover each with foil or plastic wrap. Put in refrigerator to set for at least an hour. Meantime, prepare dressing by whisking all wet ingredients together in a small bowl, taking care to smooth out any tahini lumps. Stir in garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper. Invert each ramekin onto a salad plate, tapping to release couscous timbales. Don't worry if they are not perfect looking; it makes for a more casual, tumbled look. Divide fava beans among plates, arranging them on top and around timbale. Spoon 2 tablespoons dressing on and over salad. Dollop small spoonfuls of eggplant on each plate. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
This recipe is for Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen, co-creator and host (with Jac of Tinned Tomatoes) of No Croutons Required, the monthly vegetarian salad and soup event, this month featuring dishes Suited for Summer. Lisa's round-up will be online shortly.
I have also prepared this for Simona of Briciole, hosting My Legume Love Affair # 49. Simona will be welcoming your legume-centric recipes through the end of July.
Do stop by both these lovely ladies' blogs for wonderful ideas to try in your own kitchen.