Colorful, flavorful vegetables, together with garlic, ginger and a bunch of fresh and dried herbs are the star of the show of this light and tasty cous cous.
Nestled in a lovely harbour in the north-west corner of the Sicily coast is a beautiful small town called San Vito lo Capo. Located in a valley between spectacular mountains, the town has a very popular, gorgeous beach where the sea is crystal clear and calm and the breeze is light and refreshing. Every year since 1998, the last week of september, the town hosts the "Cous Cous Fest", a festival of cultural integration, involving in its festive atmosphere all countries of the Mediterranean and beyond. Countries whose traditional cuisine is in some way related to couscous, create their own version and the chefs compete to win the competion. For the visitors it is an explosion of colors, tastes, scents, languages, cultures and traditions. You can see how they prepare and cook the cous cous, then you can decide which ones you are going to taste, while in the background, on a stage, alternate numerous internationally renowned artists perform. And before, after, or even in-between, you can lay down on the sandy beach, contemplate the beauties of life and unwind.
My birthday is september 28 and it falls right into the week of the festival, so one year of many years ago, in my other life - as I call it-, I chose that for my present I wanted to go to San Vito lo Capo, combining the usual summer holidays on the beach and the traditional Cous Cous Fest. I was still living in Rome at the time: we flew to Palermo and with a rented car we arrived at San Vito, stopping every now and then to admire the many beauties of Sicily. What I remember vividly are the spiced scents lingering in the air, the smiles on people's faces and the tasting of many different versions of cous cous. My favourite one was the seafood cous cous from Italy, followed by the veggie cous cous from the Ivory Coast.
So today, my "hommage" to my country and to one of my favourite foods is my simple version of a Veggie Cous Cous, with organic vegetables from our local Farmers' Market. However, the beauty of cous cous is that you can create your own version just by adding ingredients that you like or that you think may work well together. Be creative and adventurous, you won't be disappointed.
The colors are there, the flavours and scents will be there when I start rosting them in the oven, I just miss the beach view from my open window.
Yellow pepper, eggplant, zucchini, carrot, onion, garlic, ginger and a bunch of fresh and dried herbs, a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil, make for a beautiful, flavorful, simple dish that is the epithome of summer laid back days.
A slice of lemon and some fresh parsley complete the festive atmosphere.
Nothing compared to the best cous cous prepared in San Vito lo Capo by renowned chefs, but still something to be proud of.
Enjoy your taste of the Mediterranean!Print
- ½ eggplant
- ½ yellow pepper (or any other color you like)
- 1 small zucchini
- few small carrots
- ¼ onion
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 small piece of ginger
- 1 green onion
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- 1 small bunch of thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- couple basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
For the cous cous:
- ¼ cup cous cous
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- Wash the vegetables and dice them.
- Grease a rosting pan with olive oil, place the diced vegetables, add the herbs, salt and pepper and mix.
- Add a little bit of broth or just water (that's what I did) and cook it in a pre-heated oven at 375° F for about 40 minutes or until caramelized and soft throughout.
- For the cous cous: bring water to boil, add salt and olive oil, toss in cous cous, stir and remove from heat.
- Cover and let steam for 5 minutes.
- Uncover and use a fork to fluff the grains of cous cous.
- Mix it with the roasted vegetables, add more olive oil in case needed, fresh parsley and a slice of lemon to garnish.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
Add/remove ingredients as you most like. Cous cous is such a versatile and creative dish!
- Serving Size: 2 portions