In the dead of winter during the coronavirus pandemic, we can’t help but look back on the days when we could hop onto a plane and take a vacation in a warmer clime. Just thinking about being somewhere warm made me think of this terrific summer salad that uses pungent mint leaves and ripe, farm-fresh tomatoes to give it punch. It tastes like summer and right now, that’s a good enough reason to splurge on quality out-of-season, bright red tomatoes. We made this couscous, tomato, and mint salad the other day, and it transported us back to better times and made us smile. If you don’t care for mint, it’s also great with milder, still tasty flat-leaf parsley.
Couscous Salad with Tomatoes and Mint
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 1 cup couscous
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 8 medium plum or regular tomatoes (about 1 ½ pounds)
- 1 cup firmly packed, stemmed, mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Salt and ground white pepper (black pepper is also fine)
- Mint sprigs for garnish
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the couscous and cover. Remove from heat and set aside until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Spread the couscous on a platter and use a fork to break up any lumps that may have formed. Set aside to cool.
- Toss the cool couscous gently with the olive oil. (Can loosely cover and set aside at room temperature for 4 hours.)
- Core, seed, and cut the tomatoes into ½ -inch dice (4 cups). Mince the mint leaves and combine with the couscous, tomatoes, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss gently.
- To serve, adjust seasoning to taste and serve salad at room temperature. Garnish with mint sprigs if desired.