Friday, May 28, 2010

Fridge Friday, episode 4

This Friday my fridge is pretty bare. I was, once again, away part of the week, but my trip to the big city did not produce any stock-up shopping. One of my pups had surgery, and I didn't take time for my usual wandering among the shops and stores. My focus was on getting my the-car-can-only-go-20mph-or-I-will-pant-and howl-and-fuss little Sissy Sue to the vet and back with the least amount of trauma and drama. I think that I succeeded, as evidenced by her now laying adoringly at my feet as I type this. Her recovery is going well, and I have good hopes for her future.

But, back to my fridge...there isn't a lot there, but I can still pull out the makings for a great salad. Spinach, feta, and artichokes can be paired with items from the pantry to throw together a deliciously satisfying lunch. I have adapted a Fine Cooking recipe by dipping into my huge jar of marinated artichokes for my version of Spinach Salad with Couscous Cakes

This salad is fresh with lots of powerful flavors. Marinated artichokes really are a great complement to the garlic and lemon in the crisped couscous cakes. Feta's salty, milky flavor is accentuated by the greens and tomatoes. I did make and enjoy the creamy lemon dressing for the salad, but I think that a drizzle of the marinade from the artichokes would have been a great substitution. (And less work for the lazy like me.) 

Even with a near-bare fridge, I will not go hungry when I have Spinach Salad with Couscous Cakes On My Plate.

Spinach Salad with Couscous Cakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
5 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt 
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup couscous
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
8-12 marinated artichoke hearts, halved or quartered
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, sour cream, and mint. 
Slowly whisk in the olive oil. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the couscous cakes: Put the couscous and 1 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. 
Add 1 cup boiling water to the couscous, cover the bowl and let sit for 4 to 5 minutes.
Coarsely chop the garlic in a food processor. 
Add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped. 
Add the chickpeas and 1 tsp. salt and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork. 
Stir in the chickpea mixture, eggs, and lemon zest until well combined. 
Press the couscous mixture into a 1/4-cup measure, smooth the top, and invert the measuring cup to release the cake onto a plate. 
Repeat with the remaining couscous mixture to make 9 cakes.
Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. 
Add 5 of the couscous cakes to the skillet and use a spatula to lightly flatten the cakes so they’re about 3/4 inch thick. 
Cook, flipping once, until crisp and golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. 
Add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil to the skillet and cook the remaining cakes the same way.
Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the spinach, artichokes, and tomatoes with about three-quarters of the dressing. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper and divide among 3 large plates.
Top each salad with 3 couscous cakes, sprinkle each salad with feta, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. (Serves 3)


  1. Wow these look really delicious! I love the idea of a cousous cake and it sounds perfect wtih feta.

  2. Now I know what to do with leftover couscous! Yum!


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