Who is can say they are not fascinated by the French Riveria, The Cote D’Azur. The sounds the smells the people. Fennel, anise, typifies the cuisine to me. Why I am not sure. This dish uses “Israeli” couscous which is a larger version of the North African version many of us are accustomed to. There are some terrific toasted brown rice version available.
1 ⅓ cups/334ml/230g dry GF Israeli couscous
3 teaspoon/15ml canola oil
2 bulbs fennel, sliced thin
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½/cup/125ml dry white wine
2 cups/450ml shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 cup/225ml low-sodium vegetable broth
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
pinch saffron threads
2 large handfuls of baby arugula/rocket leaves
½/cup//90g/225ml chopped, pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons/30ml olive oil
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Prepare couscous according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel, leek, and garlic, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in wine, and cook 1 minute to deglaze pan. Add peas, and let wine reduce 1 minute more, then add broth. Add couscous, tomatoes, and saffron; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in arugula, and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Spoon into bowls, then top with olives, olive oil, and basil.