Serves 12

3 cups Israeli (aka pearl) couscous, whole-wheat or regular

1½ teaspoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar

¾ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, more to taste

½ teaspoon black pepper

¾ cup chopped dried apricots

¾ cup torn fresh mint leaves

2
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3 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill

2
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3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste

½ cup chopped scallion, white and light-green parts

2½ tablespoons chopped preserved lemon

Fresh lemon juice, to taste

Chopped pistachio nuts, for garnish (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook until just tender, four to six minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a small dry skillet, toast cumin seeds until fragrant, one to two minutes. Lightly crush them using a mortar and a pestle (or use the flat side of a heavy knife and a cutting board). Add to a bowl with the warm couscous, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss well. When the couscous is cool, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or oil if needed. Garnish with pistachio nuts if desired.

Melissa Clark, The New York Times