Quinoa Salad With Pecans, Green Herbs and Grilled Salmon
by Chef Rima Olvera of “Duet”
My good friend Rima Olvera was kind enough to share one of her recipes with me. She continues to surprise me with her ability to make her food unique and complex with flavors by combining simple and fresh ingredients. For all of us who indulged a little too much over the holidays . . . this dish is an ideal addition to a healthy menu in the new year.
A Note from Rima:
Let’s face it . . . I love to eat. And once in a while, it catches up to me, and I am forced to diet. However, I hate to suffer. So even when I must watch what I eat, I make tasty and healthy things, so I don’t get hungry and resentful and go looking for a kilo of chocolate to shovel up in protest..
Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains that you can eat. Not only is it full of fiber, but your body metabolizes it like pure protein, unlike carbohydrates. This makes quinoa a great thing to substitute for rice or wheat, etc, when you are watching your weight.
By the way, it is very important to blanch the Quinoa first as described in the recipe, as it has a natural coating of a bitter enzyme which is the plant’s own deterrent to birds eating it. This must be removed before using it or it will be slimy and bitter.
- 1 cup quinoa
- juice from 1-2 lemons (about 1/4+ cup – preferably Meyer lemons)
- 4 TBSP olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic, grated
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped Chipotles, to taste
- 1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
- 1/3 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/3 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 TBSP honey
- 4 thin fresh Salmon paillards (thin slices of skinless fresh Salmon fillet)
Step 1: First-in big pot of boiling water with big pinch salt, add the quinoa, and let boil for 4 minutes. Strain and rinse.*
Step 2: Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, chipotles, and honey in a bowl.
Step 3: In another pot, add 1 cup water, a pinch of salt, and a little olive oil.
When it comes to the boil, add the blanched Quinoa, cover, and turn down heat to LOW. Let cook, as for rice, for about 6 mins or so, or until all the water is absorbed.
Keep cover on for additional 5 mins.
Step 4: Grind black pepper over salmon paillards, sprinkle with sea salt.
Get a Grill pan extremely hot, then briefly sear each side of the salmon for about 1 minute each side, depending on thickness.
Step 5: Fluff up Quinoa witha fork, turn it out into a bowl.
Mix the chopped Green onions and Cilantro, and the dressing, with the quinoa, then mix in the pecans. Top the Quinoa mix with the Salmon, and squeeze more fresh lemon juice over the salmon.