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Recipe: Chef Karen Nicolas’ Spiced Lamb Kofta with Israeli Couscous Salad and Tahini Vinaigrette

Karen Nicolas, executive chef at Todd Gray’s Equinox, is one of only a handful of lucky toques to be named among Food & Wine magazine’s 2012 Best New Chefs in America. Chef Nicolas recently sailed on Amsterdam as part of the Culinary Arts Centers program and gave a couple of exciting and mouth-watering demonstrations.

Spiced Lamb Kofta Surrounds an Israeli Couscous Salad and is finished with a Tahini Vinaigrette

Spiced Lamb Kofta Surrounds an Israeli Couscous Salad and is finished with a Tahini Vinaigrette.

LAMB KOFTA (meatballs)

1 lb ground lamb meat
½ c finely sliced green scallions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoons mild paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black peppercorn
1 egg, beaten
¼ c breadcrumbs
¼ c milk

1. Soak the breadcrumbs in the egg and milk until soft
2. Combine all ingredients and mix well
3. Shape the meat mixture into desired size meatballs
4. Bake in a 350 F oven @ 20 minutes, until cooked through




1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup diced cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
¼ c chopped fresh spinach
¼ c thinly sliced green scallions
2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tbsp chopped toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.
2. Cook the couscous, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add 2 cups water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the couscous is just tender and the liquid is absorbed, 9 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Mix together the remaining ingredients.
5. Add the couscous and the dressing. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve.




1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 small garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp salt
3/4 vegetable oil

1. Combine all ingredients except oil in blender and blend well. Gradually blend in oil.

Holland America Line is a proud partner of Food & Wine magazine on the Culinary Arts Center program.

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