When I die and go to heaven, there will be trays and trays of hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, side dishes, tapas, tasters, mini ANYTHING, sampling platters, and tiny meals. There will also be disco balls, Goldie Hawn, Iris Apfel, RBG, the entire cast of Golden Girls, gas tank trucks filled with champagne (without the hangover), and every dog I have ever loved and some that I haven’t met yet. Oh…and Jared Leto. I digress…
Truly, I am at my breaking bread happy-place when there are these things available or given to me. Just a taste, or a couple is all I really need to be happy. If you have dined with me, you know that no plate, dish or meal is safe if within arm’s reach, or shouting distance. Some would like to classify that as poor breeding, I would like to chalk this up to part of what makes me charming, albeit self-proclaimed.
Enter…my dish for you today. This is one of my latest favorites to throw together. It is easy, clean, refreshing, light, insanely stimulating on the palate and hopefully you love it as much as we do. Literally, each bite is a fun party on your tongue. Even better pack to the punch? Since arugula is so hearty, this can be made and enjoyed for many days without worry that the salad will wilt and deteriorate. Perfect for picnics, boating, taking to the beach, heck, you can even throw it in a large ziplock and take anywhere. The possibilities are endless and the flavors just get better with time. Not like the crow’s feet on my face.
It has always been my goal to serve you not only with main entrée dishes, but their perfect accompanying counterparts as well. But…as I am finding, I will maybe find the time to make that happen in 2024. As we say in our house, ‘you get what you get, and you don’t get upset’. This, however, does not work for me if I have been cut off of my wine. I like to serve this alongside filets of beef, burgers or even with fish. It can even be made for a meatless Monday dish or for a hearty lunch.
As always, so much love coming from our kitchen to your home. Stay safe and take care of one another.
Sayre’s Fresh Herb, Lemon and Couscous Salad
By Sayre Schwiering
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Overall Time: 15-20 Minutes
**Keeps refrigerated for days
- 1 Bottle of your favorite FULL bodied, white wine (Sayre loves HEAVY, oaked chardonnays like Rombauer Chardonnay or Cakebread Chardonnay from Market’s portfolio) if that isn’t your jam- I recommend Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre or a nice Pinot Gris… OR drink whatever the heck you want. Life is short (I classify my wine preference into time blocks throughout the day rather than by food pairings…before 5? White. After 5? Red.)
- 4 handfuls of arugula (can do spinach or chopped romaine)
- 1 English, seedless cucumber, peeled and diced small
- 2 large sprigs of basil, chopped (at least 6, large leaves)
- 3 green scallions, diced
- ½ cup of block Feta cheese, diced (get the feta that comes in a block, and cut a chunk off)
- 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous (pearl pasta) **Sub tip-if you are gluten-free, use quinoa, or rice
- Juice of one large lemon to spritz on after salad is assembled
- 1 whole, ripe avocado, diced (this is to put on top, not mix in the salad. If preparing this dish ahead, do avocado prior to serving, do not mix with the rest of the ingredients)
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced or pressed
- ½ Cup Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
-Chill bottle of your favorite red wine, or ice down your favorite bottle of white until it is at your desired temperature. Put on some music. Not Eminem or Linkin Park, but something that will iron out the kinks. Take a nice big sip, breathe. Take another nice, big sip, be grateful for the food that you are about to put in your belly, and the other blessings in your life that so many are without. Now. Get to cookin’.
-Prepare Israeli couscous according to the instructions. While couscous is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. TIP-the longer the vinaigrette sits, the BETTER.
-When the vinaigrette is complete and the couscous is still cooking, get to chopping your herbs and veggies.
-Drain couscous in a strainer, let sit for a few minutes to have the steam die down, and then add to the vinaigrette while still warm so pasta can absorb the vinaigrette. Again…you don’t want it so hot that it turns the fresh lemon juice…just warm enough to absorb beautifully.
-Mix in the vegetables and herbs once the cous cous mixture comes to room temperature and is cooled. Stick in the fridge to get it to cool down faster if you are running low on time. Toss altogether.
-Finish off by spritzing lemon juice on top of the salad, and sprinkling the chunks of avocado.