small red bell peppers (about 12 ounces/340 grams), seeds and stems removed, quartered
small tomato, halved
tablespoons/60 milliliters olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
large heads garlic, tops trimmed just enough to expose the cloves
tablespoons red wine vinegar
teaspoon maple syrup
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare the pepper sauce: Add the bell peppers and tomato to a baking sheet (tray) and toss with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Drizzle the garlic heads with a little oil, wrap tightly in foil and place them to one side of the baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes or until the pepper skins are well charred and the garlic has softened.
- When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the pepper and tomato skins. (Don’t worry if you can’t remove all the skin.) Add the peeled vegetables to a food processor. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their papery skins (discarding the skins) and add them to the blender along with the vinegar, maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Blitz for a few seconds, then, with the machine running, slowly drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Set aside pepper sauce.
- Meanwhile, prepare the couscous cake: Add the couscous, 1/2 teaspoon salt and boiling water to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- Place a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Toss the scallions (spring onions) with 1/2 tablespoon oil, then add to the pan and fry until softened and charred, turning halfway through, about 4 minutes. Set the scallions aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium-high, then add another 1/2 tablespoon oil and the spinach to the pan. Cook until wilted, about 90 seconds, then transfer to a large bowl. Roughly chop the scallions and add two-thirds to the bowl with the spinach. Add the couscous, yogurt, both cheeses, flour, eggs, garlic, coriander, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper to the bowl and mix everything to combine.
- Wipe out the skillet and heat 5 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Once hot, add the couscous mixture, and use a spoon to evenly distribute and smooth out the top. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes; the edges will be golden, the cake will start to set in the center and you should be able to loosen the cake from the base.
- Use a spatula to gently separate the cake from the sides of the pan, running it under the cake as well to try to loosen it from the bottom. Remove the pan from the heat and, very gently, invert the whole thing onto a large plate. Return the pan to the heat and slide the cake back into it, crispy-side up, to brown the other side. Cook for 8 minutes over medium heat, then transfer the cake to a large wooden board or serving platter.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining scallions with the extra basil leaves and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle the cake all over with the extra pecorino and top with the scallion mixture. Serve with the pepper sauce in a bowl alongside.