Friday, February 09, 2007

Toasting - a step worth an extra few minutes...

Sometimes it is the little things that can really enhance the end results in a recipe. In tonight's dinner, Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame and Tarragon, we utilized toasting a couple ingredients in a dry skillet to reach a depth of flavor you would not achieve if you skipped this easy step. We started out by first toasting the quinoa until it took on a golden tinge and began to crackle. In the same dry skillet, we then toasted some chopped walnuts until they released an intense nutty aroma that filled the kitchen. Before we dropped the quinoa into the broth to cook, I made sure to rinse it very well - you want to remove any residue that coats the grain as it will leave a bitter taste if left on. When the quinoa was about half done, we added in thawed shelled edamame (green soybeans) - when you drop them in, don't stir the two together. You don't want to disturb the quinoa, so just lay them in on top and quickly re-cover the saucepan.

As they finish cooking, a stimulating dressing made from fresh lemon juice and zest, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh tarragon is whisked together. The cooked quinoa and edamame, with a handful of chopped roasted red bell peppers are tossed into the mixture and coated with the pungent, yet not overpowering, anise-flavored dressing. The crunchy toasted walnuts are a fitting finish to match the natural nutty flavor (brought to the front by toasting) in the quinoa. Quick, colorful and full of texture, this would be a fantastic easy way to introduce this protein-packed grain (however, it is technically a seed) into your diet.


  1. Yummmy, sounds and look delicious Joe! I love quinoa as well!!!

  2. Ana - It sure in a fun grain to experiment with! Lots of way to use it.