Quinoa is a pseudocereal native to the Andes that is nutritionally similar to cereals but belongs to the botanical family of spinach or chard. Such is its nutritional importance in certain countries, that the FAO (United Nations Food Organization) declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa.
Five refreshing rice-based salads
To take advantage of the last throes of the heat with delicious salads, we have had Sergio Ortas Durand, the experienced chef of The feast of Babel, a restaurant from Zaragoza, like its owner, which has been inspired by various cuisines of the world to make signature fusion cuisine for almost 20 years.
As in addition to being a cook, he is a poet and musician, better known as “Puritani”, he offers us his recipes specially designed for eldiario.es readers with a soundtrack (OST) to prepare and enjoy later.
Preparation of quinoa of all varieties and salads
For four people, Ortas recommends washing 140 g of quinoa with plenty of water to reduce its bitter notes, cook for about 15 minutes in a ratio of approximately one part of quinoa to two parts of water and drain. It should be loose and al dente: fluffy on the outside and firm on the inside. Always look at brand or bulk store directions.
Quinoa with fall fruits, cheese and beer reduction, shallots and crunchy pumpkin seeds: a fruit, autumn, cereal and balsamic salad, rich in textures and vitamins. With a sweet and vegetable dressing.
- Put in a casserole, with olive oil, six shallots, peeled and quartered, lightly brown, add 20 g of brown sugar, sauté them, turn them over and pour over half a Mexican black beer type Negra Modelo.
- When the beer has reduced, thickens and the mixture darkens, remove it until it cools and put it in the refrigerator.
- Cut 60 g of blueberries and 60 g of black seedless grapes into quarters and a fuji or pink lady apple and a conference pear into small cubes and reserve.
- Add the fruits with grain to the quinoa, stir and mix them, add the pear and apple cubes and stir again until they are well integrated.
- Add the shallot quarters to the quinoa and reserve the remaining juice for the dressing.
- Add 100 g of Wensleydale type cheese, previously crumbled.
- Mix the light beer syrup with 100 ml of oil, salt and pepper; beat with a kitchen rod until you get an emulsion.
- Dress the salad and sprinkle 70 g of pumpkin seeds over each serving.
Quinoa with ‘Indian’ cucumber and tomato raita, light yogurt and mint sauce and violet jam: a refreshing, creamy, aromatic, floral and Indian inspired salad.
- Peel two cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise, empty them from pipes with a coffee spoon. Salt and drain in a colander for 15 minutes, dice and reserve.
- Chop a large pink tomato into small cubes, previously emptied of juices and seeds.
- Wash a red onion well and chop it into brunoise cubes.
- Crush two cloves of garlic and some mint leaves in the mortar until obtaining a crushed paste; add a drizzle of virgin olive oil and salt, and mix it all with 500 g of natural yogurt in a bowl. Add the cucumber, tomato and, finally, the red onion, well drained.
- Put a mountain of quinoa and on top a small scoop of cucumber raita with tomato, which will be creamy but loose.
- Around the perimeter, pour six small spoonfuls of violet jam in a circle. Decorate with flowers and a sprout of mint.
Quinoa with marinated artichokes, red onion, pomegranate, oil, lemon and basil: salad based on the Sephardic tradition: simple, citrus, vegetable, aromatic and elegant.
- Clean 12 artichokes until the center is tender and cook for about seven minutes if they are very tender. Reserve.
- Chop half a fine red onion and basil. Mix with the juice of half a lemon and 40 ml of olive oil and salt.
- Cut the artichokes into halves and put them in the fridge to marinate that dressing for an hour.
- Mix the grains of half a pomegranate with 90 ml of olive oil, the juice of the other half lemon and a handful of chopped bell pepper.
- Place on each plate a little mound of quinoa mixed with the pomegranate, the dressing and the pepper.
- On top and, in a circle, add the marinated artichokes.
- Garnish with dressing and a small sprout of basil.
Quinoa with avocado, mango and red shrimp sauce and cilantro mojo: A tropical, Caribbean salad, it would be reminiscent of a ceviche and a salpicón.
- Open an avocado, peel a mango and dice them.
- Brunoise a green pepper, a red pepper and a red onion.
- Grill 12 carabinieri for one minute on each side, rare. Peel and reserve. Add the shells to marinate with the olive oil.
- Crush a bunch of coriander with half a green chilli, a clove of garlic, a gram of cumin and add 50 ml of strained olive oil and the juice of a lime.
- Mix the quinoa, vegetables and fruits.
- Make a volcano and place the carabineros cut in three.
- Add the mojo to the salad and stir.
Quinoa with smoked aubergine in tahini sauce: inspired by the Middle East, basic but structured, roasted and smoked. Aromatic, special and vegan.
- Lightly toast a handful of pomegranate kernels for garnish in a heavy-bottomed skillet.
- Roast two large aubergines over direct heat or in the oven, turning them with steel tongs, until their skin is charred all over their surface. If you still have a stove stove, the fire in the direct flame is about 7 or 8 minutes. In an oven at 220 ºC, it would be about 40 minutes.
- Reserve the aubergine for about ten minutes and, when it has deflated a bit and tempered, peel it and drain it.
- Crush two garlic cloves in a mortar, add two tablespoons of tahini sauce (crushed sesame), the juice of a lemon, salt, pepper and 250 ml of olive oil. Emulsify the pass before dressing.
- Chop the aubergine or divide into strips. Deposit it on a quinoa volcano.
- Emulsify the dressing and sauce generously. Season and decorate with a few grains of pomegranate and two tablespoons of chopped parsley.
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