Monday, April 19, 2010

Asparagus, Tarragon and Chive Quinoa

Today's e-mail from the farmer saying ANOTHER bonus box was coming tomorrow with TEN POUNDS of asparagus in it was all it took to send me scurrying to the fridge to gather up all the asparagus I had left from the other boxes. Trimmed, it was almost exactly a pound, and the chives and tarragon in the garden have been producing nicely, so I doctored up this dish to accommodate them.

The chive blossoms, which are an advantage of having a clump of chives in your garden, dressed up this dish but aren't required!
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, originally from the book My Favorite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell

1 pound trimmed CSA asparagus
olive oil

2 cups dry quinoa, well rinsed and drained (Costco sells huge bags of organic quinoa)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon (or to taste) Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
1/3 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
Chive blossoms if you have 'em

About 1/4 cup toasted and chopped almonds

Put quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3 cups water into a medium-size pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until little curls that look like sprouts start forming on the grains. Remove from heat. If there's still water left, drain off as best you can and let the quinoa sit, covered, to soak up the little water you couldn't get out.

Cut the trimmed asparagus into 1-inch segments and saute them in a splash of olive oil in a large skillet for about 10 minutes. Add a little water and cover to cook for just a few minutes or until tender-crisp. Watch carefully; you want to asparagus to stay bright green. When it's ready, remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl 'til smooth. Taste for heat and spiciness! This will vary tremendously depending on what chili sauce you use. This dish can take a lot, but do monitor and adjust at this point.

Toss the asparagus pieces into the quinoa pot and mix. Stir in the chives and tarragon. Pour the dressing over, stir well, and pile the mixture into a serving bowl. Top with the almonds and chive blossoms and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6-8.

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