QUINOA SALAD WITH DRIED FRUITS AND PINE NUTS

 

This salad tastes best when first made and served warm or tepid, but it also keeps well refrigerated.  If y you’re making it in advance, add the pine nuts just before serving so they will remain crisp.

 

Quinoa must be rinsed well before cooking or there will be a biter edge to the otherwise delicate flavor.  While the quinoa is cooking, the rest of the ingredients can be prepared.

 

The viscous cooking liquid can be used in place of all or some of he oil to make this salad virtually fat-free.  Although it won’t have the flavor of the oil, it has a somewhat unctuous quality that will coat the grains and act as a vehicle for the herbs and spices.

 

Makes 4 generous servings.

 

THE QUINOA

 

1 cup quinoa                                                            2 tbsp snipped chives, or 3 small

2 cups water                                                             scallions, cut into narrow rounds

salt                                                                  1.4 cup dried currants, softened in hot

6 dried apricots, finely diced                                  water and squeezed dry

3 tbsp finely and evenly diced yellow      3 tbsp pine nuts

 or green bell peppers

 

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a bowl of cold water, then pour it into a fine-meshed strainer and rinse again under running tap water.  Bring the water to a boil, add salt to taste, and stir in the quinoa.  Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook 15 minutes.  Taste the grain---there should be just a little resistance and the opaque spiraled ring of germ should show.  If necessary, continue cooking until done, then pour into a strainer and set it to drain over a bowl.  (Save the liquid, which replace the oil in the dressing or be used in soups.)

 

While the quinoa is cooking, cut the apricots and vegetables as suggested, keeping everything as fine and even as possible.  Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they re golden brown, then turn them into a bowl.

 

Make the vinaigrette below.  Then toss the warm quinoa with the fruits, vegetables, pine nuts and dressing.  Serve the salad nestled in rounded lettuce leaves.

 

THE VINAIGRETTE

 

Grated zest of one lemon                                       ¼ tsp ground coriander

1 tbsp lemon juice                                                    salt

2 tsp finely chopped cilantro or parsley               2 tbsp light olive oil

½ tbsp paprika                                                          2 tbsp virgin olive oil

¼ tsp ground cumin

 

Combine the lemon zest, juice, spices, herbs, and salt together in a bowl.  Stir to combine, then whisk in the olive oils. Taste and adjust the balance of flavors, adding lemon juice of necessary.

 

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