It is finally warming up here in San Diego, after a long, cool spring, and summer is here. The flannel sheets are off the bed, my kitchen skylight is open all day long, and I’m out watering the garden every other day.
Summer weather leads to recipes such as this herbed quinoa salad that can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature. Now is the time for dishes that call for stove-top cooking, brief oven times and easy assembly. The shrimp roast quickly, within 5-6 minutes, and taste so much better than when boiled, a tip I learned from studying Ina Garten’s recipes with shrimp.
If you don’t have quinoa on hand, brown rice or whole wheat couscous can be substituted. The beauty of quinoa is that I have so many friends eating a gluten-free diet. It tastes nutty and rich, and is a can’t-lose ingredient for a variety of summer salads and dishes.
Have fun playing with a variety of different fresh herbs. I tend to walk out to the garden and snip a handful of whatever looks good, or needs trimming
A few years ago, Larry lined a portion of a raised bed with chicken wire – goodbye, gophers – and that little area is packed with fragrant herbs. Yesterday, the dill, parsley, chives and lemon thyme looked plentiful and so I went with that combination.
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup quinoa
- ¾ pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 12 shrimp)
- kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for roasting shrimp
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaved parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon thyme, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a medium-sized saucepan, heat the stock until boiling. Add the quinoa, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15-20 minutes, until stock has been absorbed by the quinoa. Remove from heat and allow quinoa to rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Spread the shrimp on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 3 minutes, then turn shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Heat a small frying pan and toast the pine nuts, stirring until they are golden brown. Remove from the heat.
- Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and turn into a salad bowl. Add the roasted shrimp and vinaigrette and toss. Add the toasted nuts and herbs. Toss the salad and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before serving or chill for 2 hours if you plan on serving a chilled salad.