Couscous is actually a pasta and not a grain. There are two varieties of couscous. One is Moroccan style couscous, tiny in size and seems much like a grain. The other is Israeli couscous, about the size of pearl barley with a texture much more like pasta. This salad uses the Moroccan style.
Do Ahead Couscous and corn salad may be made two or three days ahead. Re-fluff before serving. As with any pasta salad, the pasta absorbs the dressing as it sits. While not required, the salad would benefit from the addition of a touch more lemon juice and olive oil after it sits for a few days.
3 ears fresh corn, shucked with silk removed
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch scallion, medium chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, medium chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
6 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups Moroccan style couscous
2 cups water
1 cup olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Blanche corn for 2-3 minutes. Immediately stop cooking by running under cold water or plunging into a bowl filed with water and ice.
2. Hold one ear of corn vertically with the blunt stalk-end of corn down. Using a chef’s knife, shave off the kernels moving your blade from top to bottom. Repeat with rest of corn.
Next, holding the knife blade perpendicular corn, scrape the cob to remove remnants of corn and extract the “milk.” Reserve. It all goes into the salad.
3. Place couscous in a large bowl. Bring water to a boil. Pour water over couscous and allow to sit as couscous absorbs all the water. Once the water is absorbed, fluff with a fork. This just takes a few minutes. For “extra credit,” make a corn stock by returning the scraped cobs to the water you used to cook the corn, simmer for 10-15 minutes and use this corn stock to cook the couscous.
4. Add to the cooked couscous, corn, onion, scallion, sweet pepper, garlic and cilantro. Mix well. Add lemon juice and mix well again. You want to add the lemon juice and mix before adding olive oil so that the couscous can absorb the lemon juice before being coated with the oil. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix again.
It’s nice to serve a salad like this in something low rather than a deep bowl.