Friday, November 14, 2014

Lemon Scallion Couscous Cakes

These lemony couscous cakes get their moisture and flavor from lots of scallions, the larger the better. If you can only find small scallions then just use more of them. I like to serve these cakes with my Moroccan Eggplant Tagine (the link takes you to my other blog Sew French) or a Persian Salad (recipe below). But, they're equally good with salsa, chutney, yogurt or creme fraiche and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lime juice. Sometimes I make them for lunch and serve them with lemon, creme fraiche and roasted veggies. 

Harissa is a Moroccan spice blend that gives them a little heat. You can swap the harissa for sriracha sauce or ground red pepper with good results.

Couscous Cakes Recipe

Makes 12 cakes

Ingredients For The Cakes

  • 4 cups of cooked couscous prepared according to the package directions (approximately one box of Near East Original Plain Couscous)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 4 large scallions, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • A generous 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Use a mild cheese such as mozzarella.
  • 4 tablespoons of self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry Harissa Spice, a drizzle of sriracha sauce or some ground red pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking

Serving Suggestions: your favorite chutney, salsa, creme fraiche, Greek yogurt, sour cream, fresh lemon juice or lime juice, my Moroccan Eggplant Tagine, Persian Salad

Instructions for the Cakes

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. Add the minced scallions, the shredded cheese, lemon zest, cumin, cinnamon, harissa and dried mint. Salt to taste. Take a taste, add more salt if needed. Mix in the eggs, egg yolks and self rising flour.

Heat some olive oil in a large nonstick fry pan. I use a measuring cup to form the cakes. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop up some of the mixture. Press the mixture into the measuring cup and then release the cake into your hand and pat down a little. Place the cakes in the pan. Brown on one side and then flip to brown them on the other. Be careful not to overcook them or they'll be dry. Serve with suggestions and enjoy!

Persian Chopped Salad Recipe


Some notes:

The dressing for this salad is light and fresh. For a richer dressing, bump up the olive oil and balance it with more lime juice.
What makes these kinds of salads so easy and appealing is that there’s no salad spinner involved. All that’s needed is a bit of chopping, a few squeezes of fresh lime, a drizzle of olive oil and a few tosses with a spoon to combine. I rinse the veggies and pat them dry with paper towels which saves me from pulling out the dreaded salad spinner.
It’s has multi-colored cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and scallions. The cucumbers I used here are called diva. They’re seedless, tender and not bitter. If you see them, grab them. If you can’t find them, use small cucumbers or seedless ones. If all you can find is regular cukes, that’s fine too.
I like using scallions instead of onions here because they’re less harsh. Swap the scallions for chopped chives or diced red onion if you prefer.
  • 6 small seedless cucumbers, chopped into bite size pieces. If you can only find regular cucumbers, peel the skin and remove the seeds. You may need only 2-3 regular medium size cucumbers.
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, slice the tomatoes in half or quarters depending on their size
  • 2-4 scallions, diced. I used small scallions. If you have large scallions you may only need to use 1-2.
  • 1-2 limes, depending on their size. You need a couple of good squeezes of lime juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A drizzle of honey or a pinch of sugar to balance the acid in the lime juice
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • A few chopped fresh spearmint leaves or a pinch or two of dried spearmint. (optional but so good)
  • Diced avocado and/or some chickpeas would be scrumptious in this salad too.
Put the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice and honey to a separate small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste, adjust the both the lime juice and the honey, adding more if needed. You don’t want to make the dressing overly sweet by adding too much honey. There should be a nice balance of citrus and sweet. Stir the dressing into the vegetables. Toss to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper and add the mint (if using). Serve and Enjoy!

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