Salads and Dressings

Quinoa Salad with Pistachios and Cranberries

Recipe courtesy of Fran Gage, "The New American Olive Oil: Profiles of Artisan Producers and 75 Recipes"

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 scallions, green tops removed, sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

For the sherry vinaigrette

  • Makes 1/3 cup, enough to dress a salad for 4
  • 2 tsp. minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. water
  1. To toast the pistachio nuts, preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the pistachio nuts in a single layer in a small pan and roast until you can just detect their aroma and they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Let them cool to room temperature, then chop them coarsely. (This can be done ahead.)
  2. Toast the quinoa in a medium skillet over high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until it lightly browns, starts to crackle, and smells a bit toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a pot, add the water and the salt, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the quinoa is soft but still has a little bite, about 15 minutes. The water should be gone.
  3. Transfer the grain to a bowl and let it cool. Add the pistachio nuts, celery, scallions, and cranberries and toss everything together.
  4. If not serving immediately, refrigerate the salad, but bring it to room temperature before serving.

Directions for the vinaigrette

  1. Put the shallots, vinegar, salt, and a few grindings of pepper into a small deep bowl, a coffee mug, or a 1-cup measure. Slowly pour 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil into the bowl, beating constantly with the fork. Beat in the water, then the remaining 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
Time Level Yield
45 minutes Moderate 4 servings

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