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HOME Cooked Spring Recipes: Couscous with Rhubarb, Asparagus, and Toasted Pecans

The rhubarb is in. Or, as HOMEGROWN member John might say: The ROOOOOOOOOOOOObarb is in! I’ve been on a savory rhubarb kick lately, so the minute I found this recipe in the New York Times archives, I knew what I was having for dinner. Since I went recipe trolling after I had gone shopping, I had to make a few substitutions, but the end result was so pleasant and fresh, I’d do it exactly the same all over again. Bonus: Between the pink of the rhubarb and the spring green of the asparagus, this makes for an awfully pretty bowl on the table.

Yields 4 servings

» 2 tsp olive oil
» 3 cloves garlic, minced
» ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced (or a shallot, if you’ve got it)
» 1 bundle of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
» 2 cups rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch slices (about 6 to 8 stalks)
» 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous (put 2 cups couscous in a bowl; add 3 cups lightly salted boiling water, cover, and let sit until water is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 5 to 10 minutes; fluff)
» 1/3 cup toasted pecans (the recipe calls for walnuts, but as a native Texan, I am morally obligated to keep pecans on hand; to toast, throw them in an oven preheated to 375 for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring once halfway through)
» 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
» Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tsp oil in a nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high. Add the garlic and onion and cook just until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes (maybe 5 if the spears are especially thick). Add the rhubarb and cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.

Pour the couscous in a large bowl. Add the veggies, pecans, the remaining 1 tsp olive oil, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Toss. Dig in.

One note: The beauty of this dish is in its freshness, and it loses some of its luster by day 2. In other words: Don’t be dainty. (And if you feel so inclined, go ahead and say it: ROOOOOOOOOOObarb!)

With many farm shares winding down for the season, we’ve put the CSA Cookoff to bed for the year. Look for it again in late spring, sprouting along with the arugula and asparagus. In the meantime, meet HOME Cooked, a winter-friendly recipe file that revels in the earthier corners of the fridge and the pantry. Think root veggies and baked goods. We’ll post a recipe each week, featuring dishes from you. Don’t be shy. Share the goods. Especially the baked goods.

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