2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 lb. canary or cannelini beans, fresh-cooked, or canned, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
Kyle Bernstein prepared this dish at her home for guests from the Food Network.
1 white onion, ends removed, peeled, cut in half, sliced thinly lengthwise
10 oz. crimini mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel, and diced
1 red pepper, washed, dried, cored and seeded, and diced
1 zucchini, washed, dried, ends removed, diced
1 yellow squash, washed, dried, ends removed, diced
1 Japanese eggplant, washed, dried, ends removed, diced
1 large tomato, washed, dried, cored, and diced
2 bunches baby spinach, washed and dried
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 lemon for juice
4 cloves garlic, smashed, ends removed, peeled, de-germed, and minced, kept separate
Canola or safflower oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Alfalfa or garlic sprouts, washed and dried
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Bring vegetable stock to a boil on a small sauce pan over medium heat and keep warm. Add the beans to warm, about 5 minutes.
Place the balsamic vinegar in a small, heavy sauce pan over low. Bring to a simmer and reduce to a thick a glaze, about 30 minutes. Place in a squeeze bottle and set aside.
Drain the beans, returning the liquid to the pan to keep warm. Pour beans into the food processor, add 1 clove garlic and pulse to a spreadable paste. Thin with hot vegetable stock as needed. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Transfer to a container and set aside to cool.
Place the couscous into a large bowl. Pour 1 cup hot vegetable stock over grains. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside, at least 15 minutes.
Warm about a tablespoon of canola oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Stir in the onions to coat with oil and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to low and cook the onions until soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a container to cool to room temperature.
Drizzle a little more oil in the bottom of the same pan and return to medium heat. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant, and sautee quickly. Stir in 1 clove minced garlic and after about 2 minutes. Cook until veggies are softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small container.
Return pan to medium heat. Add the red peppers and 1 clove garlic and cook quickly until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, toss with diced tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper.
Again, using the same pan over medium heat, cook the mushrooms. Drizzle with a bit more oil, add 1 clove garlic, cook until softened and browned, 3-5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper and transfer to separate container.
Arrange the spinach in a circle toward the center of the plate.
Spray a large ring mold with nonstick spray or brush with oil and center over spinach.
Remove plastic from couscous.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Fluff couscous with a fork.
Spoon the couscous into the mold and press down firmly to create a dense 1/2" layer.
Using a fork, place a thick layer of caramelized onions over the couscous.
Press down with the back of a spoon.
Continue with mushrooms, zucchini/squash/eggplant mixture, end with tomato and pepper.
Press down well to compact.
Place a spatula over the top layer and carefully remove the ring mold.
Stir the beans, thin with more stock if necessary, drizzle with EVOO and adjust seasonings. Place beans puree in a pastry bag and squeeze into rosettes around plate.
Drizzle plate with EVOO and balsamic reduction.
Top tower with sprouts.
Serves 4 as an entree, 6 as an appetizer.