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side dish help....please....

I promised a friend who's about to have surgery that I would have a small dinner party for him. I thought small meant 6-8. He thought differently and invited 18 people. He's a good friend....so I'll roll with it. I've going to my "tried and true" dishes....so I'll enjoy the party. Besides, I'm basically making his favorites. I want to make couscous as a side dish...but I'm bored with the recipes I have for it. Can anyone suggest anything interesting?
Main dishes are grilled salmon and grilled flank steak.
Thanks so much!

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  1. try roasting some vegetables like:

    roasted pearl onions with basalmic glaze
    roasted acorn squash stuffed with quinoa
    roasted parsnips, rutabagas, and carrots
    or I guess for the flank steak you can do a roasted tomato salsa on the side or you can make herbed frites. I go to a restaurant that does an excellent steak frites with flank steak.

    green beans (cooked very quickly) and tossed with crumbled up goat cheese (I love this)

    1. I like to make a griddle roasted asparagus. You would do this in an oven with a large iron flat pan, I suppose, but I do them atop my Wolf stove iron flat griddle. Olive oil heated and hot. Add asparagus and roll asparagus in oil to coat, season wtih salt, fresh ground black pepper. Let it sit until it nicely browns on one side...do not toss for a bit...let it stick first. Toss just once to get another side browned. Then, make sure heat is high and add splash of balsamic vinegar unti it dances on the griddle, toss asparagus and let vinegar reduce to a thick sweet coating. It'll just take a minute. Serve immediately. Super simple. Super good.

      1. Barefoot Contessa's curried couscous is super easy and super tasty. You can probably find the recipe online, but let me know if you'd like me to post it. :-)

        1. For the Salmon you could try Isreali cous cous, which is actually pasta. I like to cook it in water thats been infused with saffron, for color and flavor. Then add chopped dried fruit, like dried cherries and apricots, and maybe sauteed shallots. This works grat with salmon, also with braised meats.

          1. love oven roasted asparagus - i toss w/goat cheese and lemon zest...yummy

            1. Lentils are wonderful with salmon.
              They cook very quickly but you could also cook them ahead since you will be busy with so many people. Several different varieties are available and lots of ways to prepare them depending on how you do the salmon. They'll go well with the flank steak too.

              1. Thanks for all of your help! I may add a couple of side dishes.

                1. If you are going to do flank steak have you looked into planking some veggies on the grill? Planking is so easy and adds so much flavor. Serving food directly on the plank also adds a touch of ambiance.

                  1. How about ratatouille with grilled or roasted vegetables? It's an easy do-ahead side and the grilling/roasting brings out a nice sweetness to the veggies.

                    I'm a great fan of roasting vegetables in general. We often have a mixed root veggie roast with whatever looks good - potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, fennel, parsnips, carrot, turnips etc. Toss lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until caramelized to your liking.

                    1. COUS COUS TIMBALES Starch

                      X1 X2 X3

                      1 box 2 bxs 3 bxs Cous Cous Plain or wheat

                      2C + 4 C+ 6C+ Chix stock or water

                      1⁄2 C 1 C 1 1⁄2 C Scallions Chopped finely

                      1⁄2 C 1C 1 1⁄2 C Pistachios chopped

                      2 tsp 1 T & 1 tsp 2 T Orange Zest

                      1/4 C 1⁄2 C 3/4C Dried Cranberries Chopped

                      Make cous cous according to directions on package. Soften cranberries in hot water for a few minutes before you chop.Add the pistachios, orange zest, cranberries and scallions. Mix cous cous vinaigrette in until flavored and right consistency ;may need to season with more salt and pepper. For timbales, Fill Large muffin tins.and weight down overnight, flip out on tray. Or just serve unformed. X1 makes 14-15 timbales.

                      Cous Cous Vinaigrette

                      1 1⁄2 C Oil
                      6 T lemon juice
                      1 T cumin
                      2 tsp Cinnamon
                      2 Tsps Salt and Pepper

                      1. Thanks so much. I tried the Barefoot Contessa recipe for curried couscous, and it was very good and very easy. Did oven roasted asparagus with lemon zest. A big mixed greens salad with goat cheese, cranberries and candied pecans. Grilled flank steak and grilled salmon. And lots of champange and wine. My friend had a wonderful time. I appreciate all of your help!