I've enjoyed many couscous dishes over the years, but thought it was time for me to try something a little different. So, I decided to take the best components of an antipasto platter, mix in a little couscous and fry them up into little crispy cakes. I used kalamata olives, parmesan cheese, roasted tomatoes and sopressata, toasted pine nuts and, the kicker, red wine vinegar. The strong, salty flavors mingle with the mellow cheese, and the red wine vinegar adds a tangy bite. You can serve these Antipasto Couscous Cakes as appetizers, on top of salads or as a main dish.
I was pleased and excited to see that the dish was an Editors' Pick on the site, which is kind of like an honorable mention. Thanks, Amanda and Merrill!
Even better, my friend Abbie's recipe for Cedar Plank Grilled Loup De Mer is a finalist on the site this week! If she wins, her great dish will be featured in the food52 cookbook. So, please take a moment to go to the site and if you like her recipe, and I think you will, vote for her! Abbie is an excellent, creative cook and never fails to inspire me.
Antipasto Couscous Cakes
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 cups couscous, cooked and chilled (I prefer whole wheat couscous)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup diced sopressata
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
2.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
olive oil, for frying
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes into a large plastic freezer bag, drizzle in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, then arrange tomatoes on a parchment or Silpat-lined cookie sheet, and roast for 20-30 minutes. Cool and slice in half.
Toast pine nuts over medium heat in a small pan, then cool.
Put couscous into a large bowl. Mix in garlic, sopressata, parmesan, olives, roasted tomatoes, red wine vinegar, pine nuts, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
Beat egg and egg yolk with a fork, the fold into couscous mixture. Gently add basil and sprinkle in flour, stirring until well combined.
Chill couscous for at least 30 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium flame and add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom. Scoop couscous with a 1/4 cup measure, press firmly into cup, then tap gently into your hand and mold into cakes with your hands. Place carefully into oil.
Repeat. Add more oil only if needed.
Fry couscous cakes until golden and crisp on both sides, drain on paper towels, let cool a few moments and serve. These are tasty at room temperature, as well.