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Dinner Tonight! | SECOND HELPINGS

Today, It's 'Cous With 'Shews

September 20, 2000|DIANE MORGAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Cooking traditional couscous is a long process, so I opt for the quick-cooking variety. Couscous, delicate and golden, is pretty on the plate, quick to fix, terrific with lamb, pork or fish and, when leftover, is the basis for a delicious salad.

Buy unseasoned couscous and follow these easy directions for a lively lemon-garlic combination. (If you can't find an unseasoned variety, then buy quick-cooking couscous with a flavor pack and skip the packet.) To have enough for this leftover salad, buy 30 ounces. Mince 2 cloves garlic and the zest of 1 lemon. Juice the lemon and set aside. Have ready 7 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup minced fresh parsley.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Saute the garlic just until it colors. Add the zest, lemon juice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the couscous. Stir in the minced parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside 6 cups of couscous for this recipe. Cover and refrigerate when cool. Serve the rest immediately.

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Morgan is author of "Cooking For The Week: Leisurely Weekend Cooking For Easy Weekday Meals," (Chronicle Books, $18.95).

Couscous Salad With Cashews, Currants and Snow Peas

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

1 cup dried apricots, quartered

1 cup dried currants or raisins

Hot water

1/2 pound snow peas, stem ends trimmed and strings removed

2/3 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 cups cooked couscous

2 cups (10 to 12 ounces) salted roasted cashews

4 green onions, including green tops, thinly sliced

* Place apricots and currants in medium bowl and cover with hot water. Soak 20 minutes.

* Meanwhile, fill 2 1/2-quart saucepan two-thirds full with water and bring to boil. Cook snow peas until bright green and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

* In small mixing bowl combine oil, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, sugar and pepper. Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

* In large mixing bowl combine couscous, cashews, green onions and snow peas. Drain apricots and currants. Pat dry with paper towels and add to couscous mixture. Toss lightly to combine. Add dressing, toss to mix through, and serve.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings: 575 calories; 379 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 35 grams fat; 57 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams protein; 2.37 grams fiber.

Gail Pittman plate from H. Foster Jackson, Tustin.

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