Few crops grow at Andean altitudes of 10,000 feet. One that does is quinoa, a nutty, high-protein grain that was both a pre-Incan and Incan staple. Emmanuel Piqueras mixes this grain with artichokes, an ingredient brought to Peru by the Spanish, to create this crunchy salad tossed with a tart dressing of wine vinegar and avocado oil.
Delicious, Quick Side Dishes
1 1/2 cups black quinoa (9 ounces), rinsed (see Note)
3 medium artichokes
1/2 cup avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 canned hearts of palm (5 ounces), drained and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
6 small Boston lettuce leaves
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the quinoa over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 20 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve, then spread out on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
Squeeze some of the juice from the lemon half into a small bowl of water; reserve the lemon half. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, snap off the outer leaves. Using a sharp knife, cut off the leaves, leaving the artichoke bottom. Cut off the stem and peel the artichoke bottom. Using a spoon, scrape out the furry choke. Rub the artichoke bottom all over with the lemon half and drop it into the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining 2 artichokes.
In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the artichoke bottoms over moderately high heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool, then cut into 1/2-inch dice.
In a large bowl, mix the avocado oil with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the quinoa, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm and red and yellow peppers and toss to coat. Mound the quinoa salad on lettuce leaves and serve.
Black quinoa is available by mail order from Kalustyan's (212-685-3451 or kalustyans.com).
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