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kitchenbeard in cooking_basics

Quinoa & Asparagus Salad

With summer upon us with all of it's outdoors fun, all too often we find ourselves with less time to hide in the kitchen to tinker and play with food. This weekend was no exception. All of a sudden we needed a dish to bring to a backyard potluck and then another for lunch for a hike near Mt. Diablo... and almost no time to make either. Last Wednesday, while strolling through the Castro Farmer’s Market getting some basics, we absent mindedly grabbed a couple of the last bunches of the spring asparagus while on our way to something else. This morning while getting ready for the day, that last minute purchase came in handy nicely.

This is a quick and good healthy salad that does well at barbecues and on hikes because it doesn’t need to stay cold like a mayonnaise-based salad. The nutty flavor of the quinoa and the sweet grassy flavors of the herbs and asparagus while finishing with a zingy lemon make it a refreshing summer salad. Serve it this weekend to Dad at a Father’s Day, or do like we did and eat it greedily before sharing it with anyone else.

• 2 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup quinoa
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 bunches thin asparagus
• ½ cup chopped fresh dill
• 4 cloves garlic
• ½ cup olive oil
• Juice and zest of one lemon
• Salt and pepper

1. In a large pot, bring stock to a boil and add salt and quinoa. Reduce to low, cover and let steam for 10 minutes.
2. While quinoa cooks, chop asparagus into ¼ pieces, preserving heads for visual effect.
3. Add chopped asparagus to quinoa pot and mix. Replace cover and allow to steam off heat for another 5-10 minutes, letting the heat of the quinoa cook the asparagus.
4. Quickly sauté whole cloves of garlic in olive oil. When they just begin to brown remove and let cool.
5. In a large bowl, toss quinoa mixture with dill, lemon, salt and pepper and the cooled olive oil.
6. Smash garlic gloves with the back of a knife to form a paste. Mix into salad. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.