Thursday, 13 June 2013

delia's roasted vegetable cous cous salad with harissa-style dressing

Despite the weather doing it's level best to prove the contrary, it is actually summer here in Blighty at the moment. So once again we stand on the precipice of trying to find enough variety of salad dishes to get us through the next three months. Or two weeks if the last few years have been anything to go by.

Peter Gordon's book have added a couple of stalwarts to the salad cannon, and we've also picked up the odd thai dish here and there to put alongside our regulars: sesame chicken, polpetine, aloo tikka, mediterranean salad and the couple of halloumi dishes I'm regularly forced to cook. Consequently, ever since I picked it up in Tewkesbury in the grim mid-winter, I've been itching to get Delia Smith's Summer Collection out for a play.

I had a mini-dabble last year when Delicious did a piece on it and included her Chicken Basque recipe in the feature, and I've been drooling over the photos ever since, praying for some sun. Featuring cous cous and salad, this  should be an easy sell to Lady Barnes, but the layering in the picture puts her on her guard, as does the look of the roasted veg. I daren't tell her about the goat's cheese. My low-level fears get ramped up when I fail to take into account they didn't have fan ovens back in the day, so the veg ends up slightly more char-grilled around the edges than unctuously roasted.

It surprises us both though as it's much tastier than it looks. Even the burnt bits!

There's a bit of everything going on this dish: The veg (burnt bits aside) is sweet, the dressing is pungent and acidic, and the cheese gives it creaminess: It's really delicious, and very easy to make. Well, it will be next time.

Wine Time
As mentioned above, there's a lot happening here plus the mouth-filling properties of the cous cous, but the two biggest flavour here are the cheese and the rich veg. You're looking for something with weight and acidity, and I'd suggest not too fruity. Chardonnay's apply acidity is a classic roast veg match, but its creaminess would also perfectly snuggle up to the goat's cheese. If you want something a little zingier, go with Chenin Blanc but think Old World Vouvray rather than new world tropicality.

roasted vegetable cous cous salad with harissa-style dressing - Delia Smith, Delia Smith's Summer Collection, p106

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