Brown Butter Couscous with Asparagus and Leeks is a delicious side dish full of springtime flavors. Wonderful as a side dish or add grilled chicken or salmon for a main dish option.
Pearl couscous, or Israeli couscous, is one of my go-to ingredients lately. I love the texture and its versatility. I created this recipe recently to use up veggies that I had leftover from making Asparagus, Leek, and Brie Quiche. It turned out to be the most incredibly delicious lunch... and I didn't even share. Kept it all to myself, happily!
Nutty brown butter
Brown butter is like the nectar of the gods. It is beyond amazing. Browning butter brings out the most incredible nutty flavor, which I could literally put on just about anything. Besides the butter, you only need a handful of ingredients in this dish.
- pearl couscous (Israeli couscous)
- Parmesan cheese
There are a few steps in this recipe but they are all quick and easy.
- Cook the couscous according to package directions.
- Saute the cleaned, chopped leeks with butter and thyme.
- Blanch the asparagus.
- Melt the butter and cook until it turns golden brown.
- Toss the couscous, leeks, and asparagus with the brown butter. Top with parmesan shavings.
How to clean leeks
Leeks tend to have grit and dirt between their layers, so it's important to clean them thoroughly. Trim off the root end and the dark green leaves at the top. Slice the leek in half lengthwise. Then, cut crosswise into ½ inch slices. Add the leeks to a salad spinner, rinse well and spin dry. TIP: Save the root end and dark green leaves, freeze, and use for vegetable stock.
How to blanch asparagus
Blanching is a brief cooking method in which the asparagus is plunged into boiling water for approximately 30-60 seconds. Then, the asparagus is transferred to a bowl filled with ice water. This stops the cooking process and locks in the bright green color of the asparagus. The short cooking time is just enough to soften the raw bite of the asparagus, but the asparagus will still have a crisp-tender texture.
Brown butter couscous is a perfectly satisfying side dish. Add sliced chicken or top with grilled salmon for a delicious all-in-one meal. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, this couscous reheats well in the microwave.
Skillet | Saucepan | Mixing bowl | Salad spinner | Strainer
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Brown Butter Couscous with Asparagus and Leeks
- 2 cups uncooked pearl couscous
- 1 large leek ((or 2 small leeks))
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 spears asparagus
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- Parmesan cheese (shaved for garnish)
- Cook the couscous according to package directions. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, clean the leeks: trim the root end and the dark green leaves at the top. Slice in half lengthwise and then slice crosswise into ½-inch slices. Add the leeks to a salad spinner. Rinse well and spin dry.
- In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add the leeks. Season with salt and pepper and thyme leaves. Saute over medium heat until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Blanch the asparagus by adding the chopped asparagus to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 30-60 seconds. Transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
- In a small skillet, melt ¼ cup butter and cook until golden brown in color. Brown bits will form in the bottom of the pan.
- Add the couscous, leeks, asparagus to a mixing bowl and toss with the brown butter. Top with Parmesan shavings. Serve warm.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.
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