I am very fond of quinoa. This tiny grain with pretty curlicues contains about twice as much protein as other grains, an array of minerals and vitamins and is gluten-free. But the reason it should be in every busy mother’s pantry is that it cooks in record time: 10 to 15 minutes. It allows you to make a wholesome, tasty meal in under half an hour!
The spring, though a little chilly, is definitely here and my focus in the kitchen moves from soups to grain-based salads. Salads, like soups, can easily be made in advance, and unlike soups don’t even need to be reheated. Grain-based salads also make a good picnic food.
I am currently using lots of the fresh green herbs from the garden, usually in a mixture. If you can’t get chervil, you can use chives only. If you’re short of time, skip the pickling of the radishes and use them raw (you’ll will need to use more lemon juice in the dressing in that case). And the quails’ eggs are not necessary either, just really pretty. That’s important, too, especially in salads.
Quinoa salad with pickled radishes
Very fresh eggs are hard to peel, so if you’re capable of planning ahead, buy them several days in advance.
2 cups of quinoa
3 cups of water
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 cup of chopped spring herbs (chives, chervil, parsley)
12 quails’ eggs (or 4 regular eggs)
1 bunch of radishes, leaves discarded
¼ cup (60 ml) vinegar
¼ cup (60 ml) water
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil
juice from ½ lemon<
pinch of salt
Start by pickling the radishes. Cut the radishes in not-too-thin slices (about 5 mm). Put them in a jar and add the rest of the ingredients, shake well to dissolve the salt and sugar. Put the jar in the fridge for at least an hour (the pickled radishes will keep for at least several days).
Boil the quails’ eggs for 5 minutes in gently simmering water. Cool the eggs rapidly under running cold water and peel them.
Rinse the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer and bring to the boil with the 3 cups of salted water. Cook for about 10 – 15minutes, until you can see the tiny curlicues in each grain. Drain if necessary. Add the dressing (the quinoa will suck up the flavors when it’s still warm) and let cool to room temperature. Add the celery and herbs, then the pickled radishes (without the liquid). Mix everything well. Cut the eggs in half and arrange them on top.