We stopped at the newly opened Olive Bar to sample a variety of oils and stuffed and marinated olives. Owner Chrystie DeSoto spoke knowledgably and passionately about olive oil. Never again will I consider the bulk “light olive oil” the real stuff. As their website says, “Refined olive oil is to virgin olive oil as ‘fruit drink’ is to fruit juice.” However, the strong flavor of natural olive oil does take some getting used to.
Outside the store the author of an olive cookbook had set up an attractive display. After tasting the couscous and listening to her describe how it only took ten minutes to prepare, we bought her book (autographed!) and went back into the store to buy the ingredients. Following the recipe took about half an hour, given all the chopping and slicing, but it did turn out well. Even the youngster, who’s partial to hamburgers and fries, liked it. © 2007 Stephen Yuen
Couscous, Garbanzo, and Olive Salad
¼ cup lemon juiceIn a small bowl, whisk lemon juice with oil, salt and pepper. In a large bowl, pour water over couscous, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes until water is absorbed; fluff grains with a fork. Fold remaining ingredients, except garnishes, into couscous and add dressing. Mix well and chill. Serve salad garnished with tomatoes and olives. Serves 6-8.
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 ½ cups boiling water
2 cups instant couscous
2 cans (15 ½ oz each) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 tbs. capers, rinsed
1 jar (7 oz) roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
1 cup pitted Gaeta olives, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
tomato wedges for garnish