Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Couscous Pancakes!

Growing up my mom used to make leftover mashed potatoes into the most delicious potato pancakes, so I decided to follow her lead and make my own version of leftover pancakes. Instead of mashed potatoes, however, I'm using couscous. 

Couscous Pancakes:

Couscous to me is kind of like orzo pasta, a great little starch that you can play up with innovative ingredients, or something as simple as roasted veggies and garlic. One of my favorite easy dishes to make is a roasted vegetable and garlic orzo by mixing a whole head of roasted garlic, a generous amount of romano cheese, and roasted squash, tomatoes and red onion into some cooked orzo, so I used this inspiration when coming up with a recipe for couscous pancakes. 

How to make roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and slice of the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves inside. Nestle the head of garlic in aluminum foil and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the exposed cloves. Wrap the aluminum foil over the top to completely cover the garlic and roast in the oven (cloves-side up) for about an hour. Allow the garlic to cool and then, squeezing from the base of the garlic, push out the roasted garlic cloves--which, should know look light to dark brown. 

Below is how the garlic should look when removed from the oven.

To make mashing the garlic into a spread easier, add a pinch of kosher salt. 

Ingredients for Roasted Vegetables:
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 plum tomatoes
1/4 of a red onion
2 tbs. of olive oil
1 tsp. of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. of fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes in half, length wise, and then halve those cuts length wise as well (so you have quartered the vegetable) and cut even sized slices, about 2 inches apart. The most important part is to cut the vegetables evenly and consistently so all the vegetables roast at the same rate. 

Cut the onion into large pieces, making sure not to separate the layers too much, so the onions will impart their flavor during roasting and not burn.

Toss the vegetables in the olive oil, salt, and pepper and evenly spread on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Roast for 40-45 minutes, being sure to move the vegetables around every 15 minutes or so to promote even browning.

This will become the base for our couscous pancakes! Are you excited? I know I am!

Ingredients for Couscous Pancakes:
3/4 cup of uncooked plain couscous
1 cup of low sodium chicken stock or broth
1/2 tsp. of salt (depending on how salty your broth/stock is)
2 tbs. of olive oil, plus 1 tbs. for frying the pancakes
1 tsp. of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 head of roasted garlic
1/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese
1 egg
1 and 1/2 tbs. of flour

You want two cups of cooked couscous, so follow your particular brand's directions to achieve this. Mine called for bringing 1 cup of stock to a boil, along with the salt and olive oil. Stir in the 3/4 cup of couscous, cover, and remove from heat.

Cooking the couscous in stock adds a ton of flavor, far more than if you cooked the couscous in just water. Use your favorite go to stock, or homemade if you have it.

Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes, covered. After 5 minutes fluff the couscous. 

At this point, you can add the rosemary, mashed roasted garlic, and cheese. Allow the mixture to cool. Once cool, mix in the egg and flour and form into small pancakes or patties. It should make about 6 pancakes. 

Place one tbs. of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Brown them for 3-4 minutes on each side. I found that it was easier to do this in a small skillet, cooking only one at a time. The pancakes are a tad delicate, making flipping and placement much easier when there's just one pancake in the pan at a time.

Drain on paper towels if you'd like, and eat a room temperature or hot out of the pan, it's up to you! 

I served these over the roasted vegetables, but these would be great on their own as a side dish or appetizer. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and until next time...buon appetito!