A college friend moved from France to Mill Valley a couple of years ago so I get to see more of her. Last week she served us this salad with cold chardonnay: a perfect lunch inspired by her California and Continental sensibilities. It calls for the fresh herbs that must have grown wonderfully in her Boursay garden. Typical of people confident in the kitchen, Vic sent me a marketing list of ingredients, implicit permission to lean in one direction or another. We suggest amounts, but feel free to add or omit as you like.
I learned something new: one enthusiastically rinses quinoa for a minute or two before cooking it to remove the natural coating called saponin which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Some packaged quinoa will indicate it’s been pre-washed, but give it an additional douse in water.
I’ve started roasting a whole head of garlic by slicing off the top, drizzling with olive oil, wrapping in foil, cooking in the toaster oven at 400F for an hour, and storing in the ‘frige for later use. It wasn’t on Vicko’s list, but I included a clove of roasted garlic in the dressing.
BOURSAY SUMMER QUINOA SALAD – Serves 8-10 for lunch
1 cup quinoa (three colored if you can find it)
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
6-8 oz. kale, lower stems removed, finely chopped
2-3 medium carrots, chopped fine
1 large stalk celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup finely sliced scallions
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup firmly packed chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup firmly packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts (raw are fine if you don’t want to take the time)
2/3 cup dried blueberries (cranberries, currants, or golden raisins are a great substitute)
1/2 – 1 cup finely diced roasted chicken meat (optional)
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of one organic lemon
1 clove or fresh (minced) garlic or roasted garlic (optional – a roasted clove will be almost a paste.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water. Boil 2 cups of salted water, add the quinoa, return to a boil and cook on low for 20 minutes. Set aside uncovered to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Chiffonade , or chop the kale finely; place in a large serving bowl.
3. Add the carrots, scallions, celery, fresh herbs, walnuts, dried blueberries, and chicken if using.
4. Measure the lemon juice and olive oil into a 1 cup glass measuring cup. Add the garlic, zest, salt, and pepper. Whisk to blend and pour over the ingredients. Toss to distribute and coat evenly. Cover and Chill or Serve immediately at room temperature.
Have some friends over and enjoy this beautiful summer salad! And if you like it, try Curried Quinoa Salad.