Quinoa Salad with Corn and Fresh Herbs

By • July 2, 2013 2 Comments

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Author Notes: Quinoa raises its game here with the corn flavored stock best made not just with the cobs of recently picked fresh corn, but also the husks. Yes, we’ve got a few extra steps here, but as with so many of the smaller optional details in cooking, they matter. Use a good vegetable stock if you don't have the time to make the corn stock, use more herbs than you think you need, and of course, use excellent wine vinegar. Enjoy!! ;o)AntoniaJames

Serves 4-6

  • 1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 medium or large ears of fresh corn, including the husks
  • 1 cup red quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 medium bunch of parsley (about 30 sprigs), leaves removed and coarsely chopped. Save the stems for the stock.
  • 4-6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or more, or less, to taste)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on their size
  • A big handful of basil leaves and/or a couple tablespoons of fresh Italian oregano and/or its cousin, marjoram
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta or ricotta salata, in small cubes (optional)
  1. Start the dressing: Put the crushed garlic and lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl (the serving bowl, if you want).
  2. Cook the corn: Shuck the corn, reserving a few of the greenest inner husks from each cob. Blanch the corn on the cobs in salted boiling water in a large stock pot for about two minutes. Remove – saving the hot cooking liquid -- and set the corn aside to cool.
  3. When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut off the kernels. This is the way I do it ; http://food52.com/blog/2259-how-to-de-kernel-corn . (Thanks, Kristen!) Put the kernels in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the salad. You want them to stay nice and crisp.
  4. Make the corn stock (or not, but I do recommend it!): Rinse and cut the husks crosswise into 2" slices. Put the cobs in the stock pot with the sliced husks and parsley stems. When the stock is cooked, remove the husks and cobs, and then drain into a large container. At this point, you can cook it down at a boil to concentrate the flavor, or set aside whatever you don’t need for another batch of quinoa or, a favorite in my kitchen, use it when cooking black beans.
  5. Cook the quinoa: Measure two cups of corn stock (or vegetable stock, if not making corn stock) into a medium, heavy saucepan. Add the rinsed quinoa with a medium pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook at a low boil until the quinoa is cooked (when the tiny white rings pop out).
  6. Flavor the just cooked quinoa: Immediately fold in the sliced scallions and fold in ¼ cup vinegar. Toss gently and set aside. Allow it to cool to room temperature or just a little warmer, stirring every so often.
  7. Prep the fresh herbs: Stack the basil leaves; then, tightly roll them lengthwise. Using a super sharp knife, cut paper-thin slices. If using Italian oregano or marjoram, chop them finely.
  8. Assemble the salad: Remove the crushed garlic from the lemon juice and reserve the garlic for another use. Add the cooled quinoa, the chopped parsley and the corn kernels, and toss gently. Then drizzle on the olive oil and remaining vinegar, add the cherry tomatoes and sliced basil leaves and/or other herbs, and gently toss again. If using feta or other cheese, gently fold it in.
  9. Let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes. Test for salt and correct. If the corn is especially sweet, making you want the salad a bit sharper, splash on some more vinegar or lemon juice, to taste. Grind over it some good black pepper and give it one final stir before serving.
  10. Enjoy!! ;o)
  11. N.B. This can easily be doubled. And don’t forget to freeze any leftover corn stock to use for future batches of quinoa, or to stir into black beans right toward the end of their cooking time. You'll be eating them plain, with a spoon, thanking me. ;o)
  12. Also, consider saving extra husk pieces to make stock just from them, to use in cooking black beans or quinoa. You'll wonder why everyone doesn't do this. ;o)

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Vegetables|Entrees|Salads|Side Dishes

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