I could have just named this ‘hearty main course salad’, but then I would be neglecting vowels that quinoa and aioli provide. Options abound with this full meal salad. Â You can eliminate ingredients you don’t have or those you don’t like, but figs and quinoa are a must and I promise that all of the ingredients, from toasted cashews to charred asparagus, make themselves known in each bite.
The recipe showed up, Â this week, celebrating fig season and a new restaurant. Both come to us by a local chef who added another eating establishment to his much lauded dining group in the Manhattan Beach area. Â I gotta love a chef from Wisconsin who worked at Charlie Trotter’s and ended up on the west coast. Was I, am I stalking him?
Figs don’t need a band. Â They are the Beyonce of fruit or of all produce, for that matter. Â When added to a host of ingredients, they make the whole show come alive. Â Figs add sweetness to bitter greens like kale or arugula or Lady Gaga and balance salty savory flavors when grilled and served with pork tenderloin or chicken or Jay Z. Â Figs are on stage right now and they deserve our full attention.
fig & quinoa salad with aioli dollops
Some ingredients are mixed together and others placed on top of the salad before serving. Â I reorganized some of the original recipe to better control that pesky quinoa which is so tiny it seems to gets into the woodwork. Â I reduced the portion and mixed it in with just a few ingredients as not to coat everything with tiny pearls. Â Also, I streamlined the cooking process as much as possible, but checkout crunchtimewarp below, for faster prep ideas.
preptime 30 minutes (or less) Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4 – 6 servings
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup+ asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
- 4 tsp. cashews
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
- Â¼ cup cucumber, diced and seeded
- â€¨2 Tbsp capers, chopped
- 2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup arugula
- Â½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/8 cupÂ â€¨parsley, chopped
- 1/8 cupÂ â€¨mint, chopped
- â€¨8-10 fresh black mission figs, cut in quarters
- Cook and cool quinoa by laying it out on a paper towel. Â Cooking takes about 15 minutes, cooling 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon zest and salt – this will be your asparagus marinade and ultimately a light dressing for the salad.
- Lightly char asparagus and place in the olive oil mixture to marinate.
- Toast cashews in 350Â° oven for 10 minutes. Â Chop.
- Prepare aioli below.
- Gently toss salad ingredients (from quinoa to mint, including oil from the marinade) in a large bowl.
- Top salad blend with asparagus, cashews, figs and a couple of aioli dollop.
- Finish with lemon juice just before serving.
Makes 1 cup (many uses)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Juice from 1/4 lemon
- 1/4 tsp sumac
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Reserve and refrigerate remaining aioli for future use.
- best eliminations: asparagus, cashews, parsley, cucumber
- less chopping, bigger pieces: i.e. tomatoes in half or whole
recipe adapted from Fishing with Dynamite and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com