Food Schmooze: Crazy For Couscous
Faith Middleton's Couscous Recipe Kit 2010 features eight recipes, including:
- Faith's Shrimp, Chorizo, and Corn Couscous with Lime and Cilantro
- Faith's Couscous and Clam Sauce with Bacon, Garlic, and Wine
- Prosperi Lamb Couscous with Red Wine and Orange Zest
- Prosperi Tomato-Curry Swordfish Couscous
- Vegetarian Salad Couscous
- The Mahjoub Family's Lablabi
Couscous, dating back over a thousand years, was produced by the Berbers of the Maghreb, a high, mountainous region, stretching from the Atlas Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea and covering parts of modern day Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. The Berbers, living in the mountains, descended to the valleys to gather wheat and preserve it. Over generations, the Berbers learned that by grinding the wheat and making couscous they could presrve the wheat for years, protecting them from seasonal hazards such as drought.
Today, Les Moulins Mahjoub produces their m'hamsa couscous in the original method, as the Berbers of Tebourba once did, in large grains. Hand rolling semolina flour with olive oil, water and salt on screens, letting the small grains fall through, then adding flour and rolling again until a consistent size grain is formed. The couscous grains are then coated by two ancient and reliable preservative products that Berbers have: olive oil and salt. The couscous is then sun-dried, giving it a rich, full, toasty flavor when cooked.