February 8, 2010
I won’t pretend that red quinoa salads have been regularly scheduled eats in my house. But one of many things I’ve learned during my limited experience as a blogger of food jargon is this: Trying new things is good and fun. Trying new things keeps it interesting for blogger and readers alike. Trying new things means we’re not eating salads comprised only of spinach, or pasta or lentils and a random assortment of standard produce section staples. And while I don’t foresee ever tiring of big green salads with all of the fixings and simple vinaigrettes, I definitely welcome this breath of fresh air. This new take on greens and grains. This roving of less-familiar-but-oh-so-delicious-where-have-you-been-all-my-life territory. It is a new decade after all (This has become my overused catch-all phrase to justify change. I fear it may be losing its effect). And, having salivated over images of this and this, I couldn’t waste any more time.
And now I am kicking myself for having ignored all of those interesting grains and played favorites to the lentils and beans. In the back of my mind I knew full well what I was missing but feared they would be complicated or time consuming or some such nonsense. Wrong. And wrong. And wrong again.
I originally set out to find farro which I’ve been curious about for some time, but my search came up short. I’m hoping to soon find it lazing among the likes of red and black quinoa, barley and bulgur, but rumor has it the stuff can currently be found in specialty Italian markets. Though after nearly losing my patience in the Whole Foods parking lot at 11 am on Saturday morning (yes, I should have known better), I decided red quinoa would do just fine and the farro could wait.
Well, the quinoa did better than just fine. This salad was such a refreshing change and did not disappoint. It just reaffirmed that I needed the kick in the pants for my grain ignorance. I love the nuttiness of the quinoa, the mild but ever-so-slightly bitter broccoli rabe, the soft undertones of garlic and shallot, the bright tang of lemon. And while I had no expectations or set bars, I was grateful this was good and deemed it worthy of a promised future in my house. It will return, no doubt.
Red Quinoa with Broccoli Rabe
- 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and picked over
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 pound broccoli rabe, 1 inch removed from stems
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, cut horizontally into rounds
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 T aged red wine vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper
Combine quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium saucepan. Add salt if desired. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed stock. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Blanch broccoli rabe in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath. Drain well and coarsely chop into 2 inch pieces.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped broccoli rabe and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and stir in cooked quinoa, vinegar and lemon juice. Check for seasonings and serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with extra lemon wedges.