In the summer I make a cold cous cous salad with lemon and cranberries that Ross loves. He often requests it, but the idea of a cold salad just doesn’t sound appealing when your walkway looked like this only a couple of days ago:
Eiw. So, I used my little noggin (correction: big noggin, I have a large head) to concoct a more seasonally appropriate version of this warm weather favorite. Oranges are of course a fabulous winter fruit and the licorice bite of fennel really peps up the flavor. If you haven’t tried roasting fennel before please do. The sugars caramelize and the flavors deepen – yum. I love recipes like this because they make ordinary ingredients seem special, even on a snowy Tuesday evening.
Orange Cranberry Cous Cous with Roasted Fennel
*Serves two as a main dish, four as a side
1/2 cup dry whole wheat cous cous (you could also use quinoa or another grain)
1 bulb of fennel
a few tbsp. orange juice
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt and black pepper
1.) Preheat the oven to 400*F. Cut the branchy portion of the fennel off, leaving the bulb. Reserve about 1 tbsp. of the fennel fronds for later. Cut the bulb in half (top down) then cut wedges about 1/4″ thick. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the fennel wedges so they aren’t touching each other. Spray each piece with a bit of spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.
2.) Once the fennel is in the oven, prepare your cous cous according to directions. I boiled 1/2 cup of water with 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of black pepper. When it was boiling I took it off the heat and added the garlic, cranberries and cous cous. Cover and let it cook, off the heat, for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done.
3.) Zest the orange. Then, use a paring knife to cut the peel off your orange. Then use the knife to supreme the orange (cutting the wedges out of the pith). Here is a video teaching you how to do this technique. Place orange pieces into a bowl.
4.) Now to make the dressing. Use the rest of the orange to squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and then pour in orange juice to reach 1/4 cup. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1/4 tsp. salt, dash of pepper, half of the fennel fronds and the zest. Let sit until everything is cooked.
5.) Combine the dressing with the cous cous. Place the cooked fennel on top of the mixture then sprinkle with the remaining fennel fronds.