My free time has been a bit limited lately, so cooking hasn't been worth sharing. I would call it more 'assembling' than I would cooking in the past two weeks. I missed it, it is my therapy. I was so excited to be making something that I talked through making this entire salad. Imagine Food Network with no eye contact or matching pans and bowls. I paid close attention to cutting things evenly and paused to share a helpful hint. Hugh started replying to my rhetorical questions at first, until he realized I wasn't responding or looking for feedback, and let me carry on being completely crazy while he took pictures. It's really wonderful that he loves me, because sometimes I just can't help myself from being crazy (Hugh, thank you. xo).
This salad is not complicated in the slightest, but it was the tastiest combination I've had in quite sometime. It reinforces the fact, that finding seasonal, fresh produce guarantees a better product. It was my first time cooking with red quinoa, and I found it to be a bit firmer, which is just perfect to toss into a salad. It is not crucial by any means, but if you can get your hands on some red quinoa, it certainly make a gorgeous alternative to the white variety. I enjoyed this as written below, because I like to eat A LOT of salad, and it not having the weight of cheese or a protein was ideal for me yesterday when I consumed the entire bowl. However, if I were making this for other people, or maybe myself on a less vegetable gluttonous day, it would be excellent with a bit of either feta, goat cheese or a piece of grilled fish to make it more of an entree.
Eat good foods and enjoy your weekend ~
NECTARINE+FENNEL SALAD // Serves 4 as a side
I cannot stress enough how important it is to buy your produce from a local farm stand or farmers market for this salad. Seek out an incredibly fragrant nectarine, a delicate avocado with buttery insides, a plump fennel bulb. It is very light, and what makes it great is the use of ripe, fresh produce. Just a mere suggestion that you could translate as a command.
1/2-3/4 Cup Cooked Red Quinoa
1/2 Cup Shelled, Roasted Pistachio Nuts
1 Cup Thinly Sliced Fennel (use a mandoline if you have one!)
2 Cups Arugula (or lettuce of choice)
// Mustard Chive Vinaigrette //
* These are estimates, give or take to your own taste.
1 Small Clove Garlic
1/4 Cup Roughly Chopped Chives
1 Tbsp. Apricot Jam (Honey or Agave will work)
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Put all viniagrette ingredients in a food processor or blender, pulse until everything is combined, about 30 seconds. Taste for salt and pepper.
2. Working in a large mixing bowl, add the cooked and cooled red quinoa, and about 3 tbsp. of the vinaigrette to keep it moist. Stir.
3. Halve the nectarine, remove the pit, and slice into thin pieces. Halve the avocado and cut into small chunks. Add the fennel slices, pistachios and half of the nectarine and avocado pieces to the bowl, save the other half for garnish.
4. I suggest using clean hands to toss everything, so you can be gentle and retain the shapes of the avocado and nectarine. Add desired amount of dressing and give one more toss to coat. Garnish with fresh slices of nectarine and avocado.