cover image Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes

Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes

Kitty Morse, Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $16.95 (120pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-2401-9

Author of many books on Moroccan cooking, including The Vegetarian Table, Morse divides the couscous recipes here into two categories: traditional and contemporary. The traditional recipes are all enticing; the contemporary ones, however, vary wildly from the tempting (Couscous-Parsley Salad with Preserved Lemon) to the unorthodox (Steak and Mushroom Pie with Double Gloucester Couscous). The best of the contemporary recipes take cooked couscous as an ingredient for further preparation. These include Lettuce-Wrapped Couscous Terrine with Dilled Shrimp and Yogurt Sauce--a perfect light luncheon dish--Curried Couscous Croquettes with Ribboned Vegetables, and Chicken Vegetable Soup with Mint Couscous Dumplings. The traditional recipes cover Sicilian Fish Cuscus alla Trapanese with clams, mussels, swordfish, sea bass and shrimp; Algerian Couscous with Lamb Meatballs, Lima Beans and Artichoke Hearts; and Moroccan Sweet Couscous with Almonds, Raisins and Orange Blossom Water. Purists may grumble that all recipes use the instant couscous method (pouring the couscous into boiling water, then covering it and setting it aside off the heat to steam), although Morse does include the lengthier traditional method for the more ambitious. All in all, with its enjoyable introductory essay and instructions on making basics such as Moroccan Preserved Lemons, this serves as an attractive overview of a relatively unknown ingredient. (July)