Last November, Merrill and I and our friend Sharelle pored over the lunch menu at Sitka & Spruce in Seattle. And we all immediately homed in on the strangest item on the menu: yogurt with toasted quinoa, dates, almonds, and rose salt. Was it breakfast? Lunch? Who can say no to a chef who has the guts to put a yogurt dish as a lead on his menu?
The dish -- the clear winner on our crowded table -- was like a Turkish recipe in a West Coast cloak. With each bite of tangy yogurt the quinoa snapped, the dates sweetened, and the rose salt made it all seem a little exotic.
At home, without rose salt, a little digging in my pantry produced a dubious but still vaguely alive jar of olive salt. This worked beautifully. Not quite as mysterious as the rose salt, but it got away with it, as most Mediterranean ingredients do. A good flaky sea salt will work just fine, as well.
I wrote the recipe for 1 serving. Selfish, I am. But if you want to share, you can easily double, triple, quintuple it as you so wish.
Adapted from Sitka & Spruce in Seattle
Serves 1 (can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.)
- 1/2 tablespoon red quinoa
- 5 shelled pistachios (raw or salted, either work), chopped
- 5 almonds, chopped
- 6 ounces whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2 medjool dates, chopped
- Pinch of grated lemon zest
- Flaky sea salt or other coarse salt -- or olive salt if you can get your hands on some
- 1 to 2 teaspoons best quality olive oil
Photos by James Ransom