This is the second installment of my March series, Foodie Friend Friday, in which I’m asking my fabulous cooking friends to write up their favourite recipe to share. For the first recipe, as well as a bit more background, click here.
This week, I am featuring my friend Garrett’s cooking skills! Garrett is a total whiz in the kitchen, and I was so stoked when he agreed to cook for this series. I have known him for about two years now; we met while we were both working at our university’s student government, and we’re now working together again at David’s Tea. Garrett is hilarious and I love his dry wit and every single article of clothing he owns. He is also really really good at his job and we have a lot of fun when we work together.
I first realized Garrett was an amazing cook when I found some pictures he had posted to Facebook of all these amaaaaaazing dishes he was making. The descriptions of his meals were seriously mouthwatering, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me by the time you’ve read through his recipe below.
Garrett’s Cilantro Lime Couscous Salad with Shrimp
This cold couscous salad is delicious, easy to prepare, and makes enough to last you about a week of on-the-go meals; perfect for a busy student like myself. I’ve been tweaking the recipe for years, but feel free to mix it up and add any of your own inspired ingredients. The possibilities are endless!
makes about 10 servings
1 package couscous
1.5 lbs shrimp, peeled
1 bunch cilantro
1 package goats milk feta cheese
1 red onion
1 carton small tomatoes (grape or cherry work great)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chili flakes
1. Prepare the entire box of couscous as directed on the package. (Tip: 2 cups of couscous plus 3 cups boiling water = perfect every time). After fluffing the couscous with a fork, pour into casserole dish and place in the fridge to cool. It’s very important that the couscous be cool before incorporating the other ingredients.
2. While the couscous cools, you’ll have time to prep the other ingredients. For the chili lime dressing, combine the olive oil, chili flakes (to taste), and the juice of one and a half limes. Set aside to allow the oil to infuse and take in all the flavours of the lime and chili.
3. Next, prepare the vegetables. Rinse the cilantro, and complete the grueling task of separating leaves from stem. Toss the stems out, and set the leaves aside. One bunch of cilantro should yield about 1 1/2 cups of leaves. Dice your red onion (if red onions are too pungent for your taste, try shallots or green onions instead), and slice the small tomatoes into bite sized rounds. Set everything aside for now.
4. Make sure all your shrimp are peeled, de-veined, and have the tails removed, to make for easy eating. If you’re using raw shrimp, sauté them in olive oil with a little salt and pepper for 3-5 minutes, until they are pink and cooked through but not tough, and set aside to cool. If you opt for the pre-cooked kind, simply run your shrimp under cool water until defrosted, then drain them well and set aside.
5. Congratulations! You’re now ready to incorporate all of your ingredients. Take the cooled couscous out of the fridge, fluff again lightly, and pour into large (and I mean large) bowl. Add the shrimp, red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro. Toss to mix well. Next, pour the dressing over the mixture. Finally, add the entire tub of goats milk feta, crumbled or cut into small cubes
Tip: if you can’t find goats milk feta, regular feta would be fine. I’d avoid regular goat cheese, as it will clump and stick together, compromising the texture of the salad.
6. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste, and give the whole thing a light toss to finish.
This salad is delicious right off the bat, but gets better after resting overnight in the fridge. It’s a perfect meal on the go, packed with protein, vegetables, and carbs.
I hope you enjoy this simple and refined couscous salad. Try it with heirloom tomatoes, scallops, or other seasonal vegetables. The sky is truly the limit.