Quinoa Salad with Figs and Mint
Even though quinoa is a South American grain, we love to use it as you would Mediterranean grains, like faro or couscous. It has a wonderful, nutty taste and is gluten-free, which is something being requested more and more at our restaurants. The red wine vinaigrette complements the sweetness of the figs, a favorite fruit of mine from my Italian cooking background. Store any extra in the fridge; it will last for weeks and is good to have on hand for quick salads.
- 12 dried figs
- 2 cups quinoa, uncooked
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise including part of the green
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Light sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
- Red Wine Vinaigrette
- 3/4 cup reduced red wine
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place figs in a medium heatproof bowl. Add boiling water to cover; set aside until plump and rehydrated, about 60 minutes. In the meantime, combine quinoa and stock in a medium saucepan. Bring to boiling over high heat; lower the heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed—about 30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
- To make the vinaigrette, place reduced wine, wine vinegar, egg yolk, mustard and honey in a blender. Pulse to combine, then slowly drizzle in the canola and olive oil while continuing to pulse. When all of oil is added, allow blender to run for thirty seconds to fully emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a storage jar.
- To mix the salad, drain the figs in a colander. Cut figs into quarters. Pour 1/2 cup of vinaigrette over the quinoa and toss to mix. Add figs, pine nuts, scallions, mint, lemon zest, salt and pepper; toss to mix. Taste the salad and add more salt or pepper if you wish.
- Photography by Renee Comet