The most delicate beans for this dish are the tiny white rice beans or the Italian heirloom variety known as fagioli del Pergatorio. Unfortunately, these are not available in all parts of the country. The best substitute is the Italian cannelloni bean, which can be found in most supermarkets. For the eggplant, choose Thai long green or other long, slender eggplants. They cook quickly and absorb less oil than the larger-fruited eggplants.
- 1 cup small white beans
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin sesame or olive oil
- 2 cups eggplant, cut into small dice
- 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic
- 12 oz. couscous
- 5 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. pomegranate vinegar (see recipe)
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh coriander
Pour boiling water over beans and soak overnight. Next day, drain beans and cook until tender in salted water to cover, about 25 minutes. Drain and reserve.
Place sesame oil in large skillet or wok and heat until it begins to smoke. Stir-fry eggplant for about 5 minutes, or until tender, then add sesame seeds. Continue to stir-fry until sesame seeds begin to turn color, then add garlic. Stir and continue cooking for 1 minute, then remove from heat and set aside.
To cook couscous, bring 21/2 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Add couscous and let mixture come to a full boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and continue cooking for 1 minute or until all liquid absorbed. Stir with fork to fluff, then pour into serving bowl.
To make vinaigrette: Whisk together oil and vinegar and pour over hot couscous. Stir well, then add beans and eggplant. Add pomegranate arils and chopped fresh coriander, adjust seasonings and serve.
This dish has a great deal of body and texture underlined by the brightness of the pomegranates. A lighter red wine, such as Beaujolais, with good fruit, low-to-medium acid and a slight bit of oakiness would match well. Try Régnié, Grand Cru, Maison de Lamartin.
- Calories: 530
- Carbohydrate Content: 76 g
- Fat Content: 19 g
- Fiber Content: 13 g
- Protein Content: 16 g
- Saturated Fat Content: 2 g
- Sodium Content: 10 mg