Most of us know the cover-with-boiling-water method of preparing couscous, but steaming is the traditional way to prepare the grain-like starch. This technique produces light, fluffy couscous that won’t get waterlogged. Rice and other grains can also be steamed, though they require longer soaking times.
1. Pour 3 cups water over couscous in bowl, then strain over large saucepan, collecting water in pan. Let damp couscous stand 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Bring water to boil in saucepan over medium-high heat.
3. Rub hands with oil, then massage couscous to break up clumps and separate grains. Stir in salt. Spread couscous onto steamer insert, set over boiling water, and cover tightly. Steam 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, toast almonds in dry skillet over medium heat 3 minutes, or until just starting to darken. Transfer to bowl, and stir in apricots and parsley.
5. Warm 2 Tbs. oil, garlic, and cumin in skillet over medium heat 2 minutes, or until garlic is straw-colored. Immediately stir in orange juice to stop cooking. Heat 3 to 5 seconds, or until orange juice is warmed through. Set aside.
6. Transfer steamed couscous to bowl with almonds and apricots. Stir in garlic mixture, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.