I was driving home with the radio on a few years ago and held captive and spellbound by an interview of the Sicilian chef Filippo La Mantia, who astounded me with his distate for garlic and onion — two ingredients that, he said, he had banished from his dishes. We went to have dinner in his restaurant (circa December 2005) and loved his food and his attitude and casual, unstuffy approach to dining, and some time later I even bought a recipe book of his. I like his sense of humour …. Nowadays, he has a restaurant at the Hotel Majestic in Rome, just off the Via Veneto of erstwhile La Dolce Vita fame.
The recipe I am blogging about today is a Filippo La Mantia recipe I was taking mental note of whilst driving that day and it’s a very welcome addition to any Summer buffet. It can be prepared the day before and it is eaten at room temperature.
Ingredients: 400g couscous, 600ml water, 4 red peppers cooked in the oven and peeled and seeded, 6 anchovy fillets, a large handful of almonds, olive oil, salt and pepper and lots and lots of basil leaves.
Here are the red peppers/capsicum.
Add some basil leaves and then process with an immersion blender until you get a thick puré.
Add the puré to the couscous and blend with a wooden spoon first, and then use a fork to make the couscous look less like a porridge and more like a couscous should look like! Do taste and add more salt if necessary, a little pepper too and more olive oil even if you so deem it desirable.
Place the couscous thus tarted up into a bowl. Put the almonds in a processor and pulse it until the almonds break up into a consistency that is easy to scatter over the couscous.
You can put the couscous in the fridge for about an hour and then remove it at least half an hour before serving. Drizzle more olive oil just before serving … A relatively easy dish to prepare and just the ticket when temperatures soar and crickets chirp to their hearts’ content. Good for people who are on a diet or fuss over food and need to be pampered more than the rest of us who are not …
Here is a link to Mr La Mantia’s website: