Generally speaking risotto is made from rice, but I have chosen to make my risotto using pearl couscous. This versatile Mediterranean toasted pasta is made from wheat flour and readily absorbs liquids while remaining al dente.
You will get far superior results if you use a fresh corn cob and my preferred way to cook fresh corn on the cob is in microwave with husks and silk intact. They will cook in their own natural moisture. Simply place on a paper towel and turn over half way through cooking time (3 minutes for one large corn cob). Remove and wrap in foil. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. Remove husks and silk and corn is ready to slice from the cob (or eat with melted butter and pepper if serving on it’s own).
I used red basil when I made this recipe, simply because I have it growing in abundance in the garden – green basil would work just as well.
Ras-el-hanout is a wonderful spice mix from North Africa (the name is Arabic for “head of the shop”) and is available in good supermarkets, delicatessen stores etc.
Salmon is quite salty, so go easy on the salt when seasoning – you can be generous with the freshly ground black pepper though!
Kale, Corn & Salmon (Pearl Couscous) Risotto
(Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as an entree or side dish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 raised teaspoon ras-el-hanout
160 grams pearl couscous
1 cup boiling water
½ cup dry white wine
Small bunch of kale (remove centre stem and roughly chop)
1 cob corn (cooked then remove kernels)
150 grams fresh boned salmon steak (sliced)
½ cup chopped basil
Freshly ground rock salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large heavy bottom frypan or wok and add onion, garlic and ras-el-hanout and fry gently until just beginning to brown. Add couscous and toss with other ingredients for 30 seconds, then add water and wine and stir through, then lay kale on top, cover tightly and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add remaining ingredients, stir through, cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Uncover, season to taste and serve.
This dish is so easy it can be used for an everyday meal, but is special enough to serve to guests for an occasion as well.
For a vegetarian option simply substitute the salmon for feta or haloumi – delicious!.