Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Quinoa and Asparagus Salad


There were finally enough asparagus spears to plunder from the garden, so I snapped them out and gathered up some of their garden buddies: snippets of chives, a handful of lemon balm and a few sprigs of fresh thyme and dill. The herbs were rinsed and minced, the chubby stalks of asparagus were cut into 1/2 inch chunks and then they were briefly steamed up in the last minutes of making a pot of quinoa. Then all were reunited with a mustardy vinaigrette and on our dinner table within the hour.

That's what I love most about the kitchen garden. I can step outside and shop in my own farmer's market and figure out a recipe based on what's ready and looks good. All of the greens above are perennials (dill is an annual but reseeds itself all over the place, so I just "weed" it out as needed) that overwinter easily in our Zone 4 garden plot and that makes this a fresh, frugal bonus.

Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
6 asparagus stalks, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill
1 Tbsp. snipped chives
1-1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp. lemon balm, sliced thinly (substitute a splash of lemon juice)
1-1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (coarse ground mustard would also work well)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Couple of splashes of rice vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Place quinoa and water in small pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until almost done, about 20 minutes. Toss asparagus chunks on top and cover. Cook another 3-4 minutes, or until asparagus and quinoa are al dente.

Mix together remaining ingredients into a vinaigrette. Toss with warm quinoa and asparagus. Let cool a few minutes and then fluff up and serve either warm or chilled.

Makes 6 servings.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

that looks lovely. thanks for sharing! I've never grown lemon balm, now I'm tempted to add it to my garden.