Spring Vegetable Couscous

1 lb (500 g) baby zucchinis, blossoms attached if possible
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
Harissa or other hot pepper paste, to taste (optional)
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
6 cups (11/2 liters) water
3 tablespoons olive oil
11/2 cups (250 g) fresh shelled fava beans (or 7 oz/200 g frozen lima beans)
11/2 cups (250 g) fresh shelled peas (or 5 oz/150 g frozen peas)
1 portion prepared Couscous (page 34)

1 Wash the zucchini, reserve six for the garnish, and cut the others in quarters.
2 Combine the onion, salt, spices, coriander leaves and water in a large
pot. Bring to a boil, taste and adjust the seasoning. And the oil, beans,
peas, and zucchini, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the instructions on page 34.
To serve, make a dome of couscous in a large, shallow earthenware dish.
Flatten the top of the dome and place the vegetables in the middle. Pour
the stock over the vegetables.

Note: Harissa is a mixture of red peppers and spices that can overpower
the subtle flavors of this vegetable couscous. You can omit it if you don’t
like spicy food.

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