All About Apricots: Chargrilled Apricots with Chard, Almonds and Cous-Cous

Apricots and cous-cous 3

This time of year is my favourite. There is a slight chill in the air, making it the ideal time wear a ‘transition scarf’, yet there is still enough of a whisper of summer left to make the occasional evening unendingly balmy. At around this time every year I take this opportunity to gorge myself on fruit like it’s going out of fashion – so much so that I’m even cajoling it into savoury dishes.

Apricots 2

According to the Waitrose catalogue (on which I base a lot of my culinary decisions) one of the best things about this period of time, referred to as late summer, is the abundance of apricots. Paris and I decided to turn to the apricot for our next source of culinary inspiration. Such a versatile little number deserves some attention – so we’re going to experiment with how they can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.

Chard 3

We have discovered the joys of chargrilling fruit, caramelising the natural sugars into blackened lines. This works particularly well with soft stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines and apricots. Brushing a bit of scarlet-red, fiery harissa paste onto the fruit before grilling is a good idea, although it’ll leave a burn in the back of your throat as it cooks. To add to the harissa apricots, we wilted some chard, and piled the whole lot on top of some cous-cous. Not just any cous-cous, mind. Giant cous-cous – also known as maftoul –is, as the name suggests, a bigger, plumper version of the regular variety, with a pleasant nutty taste. The whole thing was finished off with a dollop of yoghurt with some more harissa swirled into it.

For Paris’ write up, click here.

Apricots and cous cous 2

Serves 2 hungry food bloggers

4 apricots, halved

a few handfuls of chard

6 large green beans, the with the stringy edges removed

a handful of whole almonds

1 tsp harissa paste

1 tbsp natural yoghurt

120g giant cous-cous (or regular cous-cous)

6 dates, pitted

Get a griddle pan on a high heat. Brush the apricot halves with harissa paste and griddle until blackened lines appear, about 5 minutes on each side. Throw the almonds in the pan too. Meanwhile, boil the cous-cous until tender, about 5-7 mins, and steam the beans over the top of the pan in a colander with a lid on it. Wilt the chard by plunging it briefly into boiling water. When ready to serve, stir the remaining harissa into the natural yoghurt. Drain the cous-cous, top with the chard, apricots and yoghurt.

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