I love Israeli couscous. Love it. I actively dislike the traditional, grainy looking couscous but I could happily eat bowls of Israeli couscous. I think it’s a textural thing. I like the heft and chew of Israeli couscous, while other couscous just tastes meal-y to me. I’ve tried to like it, but every way I’ve prepared it has just left it bland and unappealing to me. And why eat couscous, I reason, when there are so many other yummy things in the world that need proper attention paid to it?
The first time I had Israeli couscous was actually quite recently. It was at a Brazilian steakhouse in Palo Alto as part of their salad bar. I remember taking a bite into my mouth and my eyes literally grew wide. I am pretty sure I spent the next day searching all over the Internet looking for a recipe I could use to recreate that amazing taste. And I definitely called the restaurant to beg for a recipe. But neither of those tactics worked as I am still recipe-less and have also pretty much forgotten what it tastes like, except for the coconut.
So while I search and pine for that recipe, I haven’t let that stop me from making it in other ways, like this one I found on the Food Network. After pouring on the vinaigrette and sampling, I grimaced because the apple cider vinegar flavor was too bold. But after sitting on the counter for a few minutes, it magically mellowed out. I like the different textures, from the slippery couscous to the crunch from the apples and the crispness of the toasted almonds.
If anything, I think I would cut back on the thyme next time. Maybe I bought bad thyme, but it had a somewhat soapy taste to me. Before serving it, I kept sampling the dish and panicking because I thought I hadn’t washed out the pot I’d boiled the couscous in properly and had infused our couscous with soap. Because, you know, when you think you’re serving soap, the thing to do would be to keep eating the dish to verify it. At least my insanity was justified (maybe?) when I realized I’d just gotten too happy with adding thyme and that thyme is actually not a flavor that I really love.