Dinner with Bittman: Couscous with Cauliflower and Almonds

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Couscous with Cauliflower and Almonds

Makes: 4 servings

Time: About 20 minutes

When cauliflower is finely chopped and fried as in this recipe, its crumbly texture mimics cracked grains. I like this best with the nutty flavor of whole wheat couscous. Other grains you can use: bulgur.

1/2 cup almonds

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot or small red onion, chopped

1 small cauliflower, chopped (about 3 cups)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup whole wheat or regular couscous

1 teaspoon smoked or hot paprika

1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, white or rosé wine, water, or a combination

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Freshly grated manchego or other semihard sheep’s milk cheese for garnish (optional)

1. Put the almonds in a deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until toasted and fragrant, just a couple of minutes. Remove them from the pan and set aside to cool.

2. Return the pan to the heat and add the olive oil. When hot, add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to color, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is coated with the oil and starts to soften and turn golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the couscous and keep stirring until it too is coated with oil and begins to toast, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the mixture with paprika and stir to combine. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat off. Let rest, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Chop the almonds as finely as you can. Add them along with the parsley and fluff gently with a fork. Return the lid and again let the couscous rest for another minute or two, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with grated cheese if you like, or let cool and serve at room temperature, up to an hour or so later.


Posted in Produce, Recipes


  1. Nom de plume said...

    Very nice, I improvised on this recipe, grating the cauliflower a bit finer after chopping with a blender, while using a wok and chicken stock from the gizzards and neck bone of a free range bird I was also preparing that evening. I didn’t have the standard or whole wheat couscous, but I had some Israeli couscous I’ve been experimenting with, which takes a bit longer. No parsley or cheese on hand, and I added a larger volume of stock since I was using the Israeli couscous – in my case, proportions of about 1 to 3 with the stock, which seemed initially too much, and thus, letting it simmer longer for assorption. Turned out to be a very pleasant combination of flavors. I added the smoked paprika earlier with the cauliflower and shallot, plus sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and basil. Thanks again for another inspiring Mark Bittman!

  2. Nom de plume said...

    The almonds, of course, I forgot to mention in all of this – with the cauliflower and Israeli couscous!

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