shiitake couscous

No real recipe here. I love getting inspired at the market and seeing what looks good. Some ingredients are so naturally flavorful, you almost can’t go wrong. And the funny thing about a dish like this is that next time I make it, the result will probably be totally different.

My first inspiration for this dish came from Chef Fresco after I was whining about how I can’t get Mediterranean couscous (the big kind) on my way home from work. He suggested Trader Joe’s. I finally stopped Whole Foods (yikes, the crowds!) and stocked up on some. I don’t know if there is an official way to cook couscous — I just boiled it until the texture was right.

I love shiitakes because they’re so easy to cook. Just trim the stems, slice or chop, and saute in some garlic and olive oil — they’re perfect every time and worth a few bucks more for the extra flavor.

I tossed in some cherry tomatoes and black olives, and I think that was it. I might have gone with a dash of balsamic vinegar, but don’t quote me on that.

Without the shaved parmesan on top, this dish would be totally vegan, but I think the cheese adds a nice dimension of flavor (and looks pretty too!).

41 thoughts on “shiitake couscous

  1. This looks so flavourful and nice. Shiitakes are great! I've never tried the nice, big Israeli couscous before- perhaps a trip to Whole Foods is in store for ME!

  2. Don't you just love it when you get inspired by what you see at the market? Looks delicious!! I haven't had shiitake mushrooms in a while.

  3. miranda: thanks, and me toohelene: thanks so much. see, that's what I was saying on another blog about how I couldn't find that couscous and then chef fresco disagreed and I ended up making this dish!koko: yeah, I should have mentioned some places sell it as israeli couscous. i like being able to buy things in bulk at whole foods.jenn: yes, I love that. shiitakes are usually so expensive, but there is a korean market i know about where they sell them for a good price — and I don't think they call them shiitakes either. there is some other name they havepandalicious: yeah, me topeachkins: thanks for visiting

  4. oooh…I didn't even know there were different kinds of couscous. I like the looks of this one! If I don't tell the kids its couscous, you think they'll eat it? LOL

  5. Justin-I was so pleasantly surprised to see the pattern the raspberries had left. But kitchens are always full of surprises, like you said, nothing ever turns out the same way twice.Especially when I'm cooking! I just love to throw everything together, a little here and there- by the end of it I have no idea what went into it all!Martina from The Foreign Kitchen

  6. Yum — love the recipes that aren't recipes. I'd always heard of the larger couscous called Israeli couscous — don't know why. Haven't been able to find it anywhere either (there is the GIGANTIC Whole Foods in London, but better luck getting into the subway at rush hour than into that mecca of expensive foodiness).

  7. morta di fame: good pointstephchows: thanks. that's really nice to hear.culinary alchemist: hmm, me toodanielle: ha, funny. you know, this kind of couscous is super kid friendly. it's sort of like orzo pasta or that little pastina stuff.theforeignkitchen: nice… and thanks for stopping byjordan: oh really? thanks for visiting.pigpigscorner: you too? hmm, i was worried maybe this was a silly post because it's so simple, but i'm glad it's new to some people…cucinista: yeah, me too, but then lately people have been saying mediterranean, like even at whole foods. i was in london last summer… i wonder where that whole foods is. i would have been curious to see one there. the whole foods markets in nyc are a little insane with the crowds, depending on when you go.

  8. i like to toast the couscous dry before cooking it. I think it makes for a great variance in color and a phenomenal texture – more al dente. I pour boiling hot water on it (1:1), cover and let sit for 12 minutes. PERFECT

  9. I love to walk the market for inspiration! This couscous looks delish. I love the shitake also…unfortunately it doesn't love me back. I'd have "regular" mushrooms here. Bet it would still be tasty.

  10. Your dish looks so delicious and healthy… I've been feasting on North Country cuisine the last few days (meat, meat, and more meat)- when I get back to Brooklyn I'm gonna sample your recipe to cleanse my palette (and heart valves) a bit.

  11. Justin, the Whole Foods is in Kensington, in this enormous old department store building. It is totally wild — entire floor full of cheese — and fully of yummy mummies spending far too much on exquisite little morsels. A world away from one of the original Whole Foods in CA where I grew up.

  12. Love this, Justin. I'll have to pass this on to my friends back in Tokyo as Shiitake is well, very easy to purchase there and my sister and her friends would appreciate knowing how to use it in non-Japanese dishes. 🙂

  13. Mmmm…love shiitakes, great combo of ingredients! You've just reminded me that I have a bag of Israeli cous cous in my pantry that I've been ignoring. I use a recipe for a Meditteranean salad from Giada de Laurentiis and toast the cous cous in pan till lightly browned first (makes it really nutty), cook till al dente in chicken stock (makes it really flavorful) and then toss with fresh herbs, nuts, and dried cranberries. b/t/w I get my Israeli cous cous in the international section of Wegmans!

  14. phyllis: i would kill to have a wegman's nearby. i've driven all the way to woodbridge, nj on occasion just to shop at one. fantastic. great tips about toasting and cooking in stock.

  15. Those photos are absolutely gorgeous! And I have some fresh shiitakes that I need to make good use of ASAP (I move back to NYC next week!) and this has inspired me!

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