Monday, April 20, 2015

Summer Quinoa Salad

I'll get to this oh-so-amazing salad in a minute but first you have to indulge me some Fletcher pics of his first 5K this past weekend.  My niece volunteers for a local animal charity Hand-in-Paw and they held their annual Mutt Strut 5K on Saturday.  


I was a little worried he'd be all over the place during the race with all of the other dogs, but he did great.  I conned my niece's husband, Ben, into walking with me because every time I try to jog with Fletch, he totally spazzes out.  We're working on it.  So we hung near the back and let all the serious runners have their space.

The good news is that we weren't last!!!  Although there was a prize for that, so I'm not sure why I'm bragging about being like third from last, because NO PRIZE FOR THAT!!

We even went to a couple of the local brewery's after the race to hang out because they're the few places in town that allow you to bring dogs.  Fun.  And Toby and Fletch bonded.  Or maybe Toby tolerated Fletch.

Anyway......great experience, great charity, great event.

So, this salad is from the new book, The Sprouted Kitchen, bowl & spoon, by Sara and Hugh Forte.  They are also the author and photographer, respectively, of the wildly successful blog, also called The Sprouted Kitchen.  I am in love with this book.  I've already made her Seedy Olive-Oil Granola no less than three times and a salmon recipe that is part of a larger recipe twice.  The husband proclaimed it the best salmon he's ever had, so because I'm your friend and the recipe is so beautifully simple, I'll give you the deets on that at the end.

I know this is titled "summer" salad, but I guarantee you're going to start making it this Spring and continue making it until the last of the corn in the Fall.  I get that this will be much better when all of the ingredients are fresh from your garden, but it's was still delicious with frozen corn and packaged grape tomatoes.  Work with what you've got, I say.

This hits all the taste buds.....bitter kale, salty feta, sweet tomatoes and corn, and the tart dressing.  It's just perfect.

We've eaten this with the salmon, for lunch with a fried egg on top, and I even mixed in some grilled chicken thighs for a leftover dinner the last night.  This would also be a huge hit at a potluck for a meatless option.

sorry for the horrible pic!

Here's the recipe:

Summer Quinoa Salad
The Sprouted Kitchen, bowl & spoon

1/2 cup quinoa  (or 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa)
1/4 cup water or broth
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups corn kernels, from 2 small ears of corn
2 1/2 cups stemmed, finely chopped kale
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata or get cheese

2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse and drain the quinoa.  Put it in a pot with the water.  Bring it to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.  Fluff it with a fork, turn off the heat, set the cover ajar and set aside to cool completely.

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 deg. F.  Halve the tomatoes and spread them on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle on 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss everything to coat.  Spread the tomatoes in an even layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until slightly dried at the edges.  Remove to cool.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the corn kernels and sauté, only stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes to just char the outside.  Set aside to cool.  Both of these steps may be done 1 day in advance.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, kale, and cilantro.  When the tomatoes and corn are completely cool, add the along with the pine nuts and cheese to the bowl.  

For the dressing, in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, pulse or smash the garlic cloves.  Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, buttermilk and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything to combine.

Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing  This salad will keep, covered, in the fridge for 3 days.

For the salmon:  Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F and brush a large baking dish with olive oil.  In a small bowl, combine the zest of one lemon and 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tbsp minced shallot and 2 tsp herbs de Provence and mix to combine.  Lay two salmon filets in the baking dish skin side down and season the fish well with sea salt.  Spread the seasoning mixture on the flesh. Pour 1/2 cup white wine (I use a sauvignon blanc) into the bottom of the dish; it's fine if it comes up the sides of the fish a bit.  Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes until just opaque in the center.  Cooking time may vary,  5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the fish.  Sprinkle the fish with the parsley when it's out of the oven.

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