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Spelt couscous with griddled asparagus

Spelt seems to be everyone’s current favourite ingredient, this ‘new’ grain is loved by all those who find common wheat difficult to eat as spelt does have a lower gluten content. Spelt has a delicious nutty and slightly sweet taste and comes in all forms from flour to wholegrain, here I use a spelt couscous, slightly darker than regular couscous and which you may not be able to find easily in your supermarket but it is readily available in most health food shops. You can substitute, of course, with regular couscous if you need to.

This recipe is made up of lots of delicious layers: a really tasty lemon and dill infused couscous, griddled fresh asparagus, crunchy sweet peashoots and shaved parmesan scattered with roasted pine nuts.

Asparagus is just coming into season in Suffolk, somewhat late this year after our cold winter, so having waited so long for it, cook it as often as you can whilst here! It deteriorates rapidly so I always avoid imported asparagus, the very best is from the local farm shops, where fresh deliveries arrive each day. Simple to cook; snap the bottom end off, it will naturally break so that you are left with only the succulent vegetable and any dried out, tired bottom is removed. The shorter the bit that snaps off the fresher the asparagus! Loaded with fibre, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K, asparagus is also packed with antioxidants and is a natural diuretic.

Sumac is a tangy lemony beautiful red spice grown in the Mediterranean and in North Africa.  Try the wonderful Ottolenghi on-line store for sumac and lots of other goodies. If you haven’t got any in your spice drawer substitute with a good squeeze of lemon juice.

 

 

The next Natural Pantry Lunch will be Friday 3rd May

 

Spelt couscous with griddled asparagus

Serves 6

  • 250g spelt couscous
  • ½ litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tsb olive oil
  • zest of two lemons
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 2 tsb chopped dill
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 bunches of fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • good pinch of sea salt
  • 100g peashoots or other small leaves
  • 50g shaved parmesan cheese
  • 50g pine nuts
  • couple of dill sprigs to decorate

Start by preparing the couscous, place the couscous in a bowl and cover with the hot vegetable stock and 1 tbs of olive oil, allow to stand until all the liquid is absorbed. Fork through and then add lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped dill and sumac.

Wash the asparagus and snap off the ends of the lower stem, discard these ends. Slice the stalks in half lengthways. Heat the 2 tsb olive oil in a griddle pan and pan fry the asparagus for approximately 2 mins, depending on its thickness, so nicely browned but not over cooked.

Place the pine nuts on a baking tray in a hot oven for 3/4 minutes, until they are slightly browned. Careful not to burn!

Assemble the salad, place the couscous on the serving platter, layer over the asparagus, sprinkle over a pinch of sea salt then pile on peashoots and shaved parmesan.

Sprinkle over the pine nuts and decorate with a few sprigs of dill and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.

 

 

 

 

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2 comments on “Spelt couscous with griddled asparagus

Gabriella

18 Apr 2013

Absolutely delightful – my favourite so far!

Reply

    Sally

    19 Apr 2013

    Thank you – just love the combination of asparagus with parmesan and the pea flavour of the shoots. Pure spring!

    Reply

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Through The Natural Pantry I hope to share with you some of the delicious recipes discovered whilst cooking in my kitchen with produce grown in our garden and the very best natural ingredients.