Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekend Cooking; Quinoa Salad with Fennel-Yes, Fennel.

Fragrant Fennel Bulb

I googled quinoa the other day looking for a recipe idea and this is what I found:

Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda

by Anne Thomas

1-1/2 cups quinoa, preferably red

Sea salt

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed

1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

4 oz. arugula, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

4 oz. aged Gouda, finely diced (about 1 cup)

3 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced

1 large, crisp apple, such as Fuji or Pink Lady, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup finely diced fennel

3/4 cup dried cranberries

3 Tbs. sherry vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, rinse the quinoa with water, rubbing it between your fingers for about 10 seconds. Drain and transfer it to a 3-quart pot. Add 2-1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. sea salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender but still delicately crunchy, about 15 minutes.

Drain the quinoa and return it to the pot. Cover and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork. Let cool to room temperature.

While the quinoa cooks, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss with the onions until the vinegar cooks away, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, onions, arugula, cheese, celery, apple, walnuts, fennel, and cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil with the sherry vinegar, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and gently mix it in. Let rest a moment; then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if the salad seems dry.


I meant to make it for a church picnic but found in my dry storage jar cupboard-No Quinoa...No Quinoa!  I did have two different types of couscous but that wouldn't do so instead of running to the grocery store at 8:30 on a Saturday night I made something else. 

I made the salad on first official day off from teaching.  The salad combined many of my favorite flavors such as Gouda, apples and arugula.  What was unexpected was the fennel.  I've never, ever made a recipe with fennel in it!  I loved cutting into it though as I am a HUGE fan of black jelly beans and that sort of dark licorice smell wafted up at me, I took a nibble and it hinted of it.  Wow.  My first fennel foray.  Anybody else out there been afraid of fennel?  Or is it something you use frequently? 


TheBookGirl said...

I am a black licorice lover, but have always been hesitant to try fennel because I thought that it would just take over the dish. I gather from your post, that that was not true with this recipe; I am definitely going to give it a try soon :)

Beth F said...

Second quinoa salad of the day. Yummm.

I love fennel! I eat the bulb raw or cooked and use the feathery leaves with fish. Yummmmmm. No fears.

Heather said...

I don't do black licorice due to a youthful indicretion with a large bottle of oozo, but this does sound like a tasty recipe. I want to use more quinoa, though am looking for a more affordable source. Ten dollars for a small bag sounds like too much.

JoAnn said...

Oh, this is great! I used quinoa for the first time and loved it. Have been wondering what else I could make... and here you've provided me with another recipe. I've never used fennel, but I'll give it try. Thanks!

caite said...

I have never used fennel...but it always sounds so good. I see some fennel in my future.

Kate said...

I'm the opposite - not a fan of black liquorice but tried fennel in a side dish anyway, since I was curious about using the veg and not just the feathery bits. Unfortunately, my dislike of black liquorice extends to fennel! It's going to just have to be one of those veggies I wish I could like.

Margot said...

Quinoa is new to me but this is the second post on it this weekend (see JoAnna's post). I think it must be calling to me.

Louise said...

I love quinoa. I started using it about a year ago. I've used it in salads, soup and as a side dish instead of couscous. I always thought I wouldn't like fennel as I don't like liquorice, so I avoided it. Then I went for dinner at a friends place, and of course they served fennel- and it was delicious! I've cooked it a few times since then. Your quinoa salad looks delicious. I like nuts and fruits in salads, always lovely. I made a fabulous japanese quinoa salad last year

Nan said...

I read about fennel a lot. I think it is beautiful looking, but I'm not a black licorice fan. Now, if there were a vegetable like red licorice, I'd be all for it!