Breakfast/Brunch with Whole Wheat Couscous
As the few months of the year rolled by quickly and summer is not too far from now, I have started to consider to eat a little bit healthier since I’ve been stuffing my mouth with rich foods and wanted to eat more whole grains at home.
Since I had time one weekend morning, I thought of cooking breakfast solely devoted to whole wheat couscous (also known as Israeli couscous). Israeli couscous is slightly different than a normal couscous by having a larger grain (it’s technically a pasta) and it has a slightly nutty flavor that many references I’ve looked at, prefers one to toast them prior to soaking them in boiling water. (I used whole wheat pearl couscous from Bob’s Red Mill.)
Whenever I think of couscous, I tend to think salads. So, I’ve ended up cooking a whole wheat couscous salad with vegetables and Buttermilk Blue cheese. It tastes better when it’s slightly warm so the tangy, salty blue cheese would melt ever so slightly and impart that creamy texture even better than when it’s cold. The mixture of vegetables of diced carrots, defrosted frozen corn and peas (I admit, I was being lazy for chopping vegetables that morning) balanced the salt. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
To create a more substantial main course, so to speak, I thought of cooking the whole wheat couscous with fried bacon! I chopped the bacon into smallish pieces (no need to be fancy, you can crumble it with your hands) when it’s cooled. I added some shredded jalapeño havarti (or any mild semi-soft cheese would do) to add more decadence and then top it with a fried egg. The egg is still soft that its yolk oozes and mimics as a warm sauce for the entire dish. (The recipe is on the bottom of this post.)
Figuring that couscous can be implemented into dessert somehow, I was inspired by idea of a parfait. I cooked the whole wheat couscous simmered in water flavored with cinnamon and sugar. Toasted some sweetened flaked coconut and roughly chopped hazelnuts. Then top it with creamy, thick, tart Greek yogurt. The different temperatures (the warm cinnamon-y couscous and cool tart yogurt) and the textures appealed to me. It’s still work in progress, admittedly but it worked in some fashion.
Whole wheat couscous with jalapeño havarti, bacon and egg
Serves 2 (can easily be doubled)
1 cup whole wheat pearl couscous (or Israeli couscous)
1 1/4 cups water
Kosher salt and ground pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons shredded jalapeño havarti (sharp cheddar or any flavorful, semi-soft cheese would work)
2-3 slices of bacon, fried and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens or chives
1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. While waiting, add couscous to a clean frying pan (no oil or grease needed) and toast the couscous until it’s lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside. Once the water is boiling, add the couscous and a pinch of salt; stir, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat a small nonstick pan over medium. Coat lightly with cooking spray. Add the egg and cook until white is set and yolk is still runny, about 3 minutes. Season egg to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat for the other egg (or you can cook both in one time, if you have a large nonstick pan).
4. Serve couscous in a bowl (divided evenly) topped with cheese, 1 egg, and scallion greens. Enjoy immediately.