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.
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.
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.
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.