I can’t go all posh and French on you and call this a salade composée because technically that describes a collection of ingredients arranged in tidy, separate piles in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
This combination salad is tossed together in a messy but delicious way. It takes its inspiration from Mediterranean cuisines, containing as it does mograbiah (giant couscous), bulgur wheat, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes and lemons. But the stars of the show are the courgettes and herbs. You can never have too many courgette recipes if you grow your own. They make triffids look like amateurs.
It is a lovely summer salad and stands up well to being made the day before for a desktop lunch or or picnic. You can eat it as a stand-alone dish or add crumbled feta, grilled halloumi, barbecued meats, cold cuts … we had it with this very good pork and peppercorn terrine from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
And of course you can switch the grains according to what you have available and in whatever combination pleases you … mograbiah, ordinary couscous, bulgur wheat, or maybe brown and/or wild rice.
100g mograbiah (giant couscous), prepared according to packet instructions
30g bulgur wheat
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small red onion, cut into thin half moons
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 small courgettes or 2 large
Handful of pine nuts
1 heaped tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
Handful of black olives, pitted and halved
1 tbsp capers, drained
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
2 heaped tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Slice the courgettes into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler, or spiralise them. Set aside. Prepare the mograbiah, drain and cool. Put the bulgar wheat at the bottom of a serving bowl.
Heat the oil in a deep pan and cook the sliced onions and garlic on a medium heat until lightly tinged with gold. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on top of the bulgar wheat, without stirring.
In the same pan, toss the courgettes ribbons in the oil and cook briefly until just wilted but not coloured. Add to the pile on top of the bulgar wheat.
Toast the pine nuts in the remaining oil until golden, stirring to prevent them burning, otherwise they’ll be bitter. Add, with any oil still in the pan, to the bowl along with the mograbiah, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. Do not stir!
Zest the lemon over everything and squeeze over the juice. Grind over a little sea salt and black pepper. Cover with cling film and leave for an hour or more, so the bulgur wheat in the bottom softens as the dressing percolates down.
When you’re ready to eat, add the chopped herbs and toss well to mix. Check the seasoning and serve garnished with a few more sprigs of herbs.