You know when you get a new accessory – say, a pair of earrings or some awesome shoes – and you just want to wear them with everything? Or a new lipstick shade that looks just right no matter what you have on?
That is kind of how I feel about this quinoa dish. I want to eat it everyday. I want to eat it straight out of the bowl and I also want to gussy it up by filling giant portabello caps with it, and roasting it in the oven with a sprinkling of cheese. I want to feed it to the people I love. There are a lot of people I love but that’s okay because this recipe gives you a lot of quinoa. And it keeps beautifully.
This dish comes to you by way of 101 Cookbooks, a lovely site and one I turn to when I want über-healthy food or when I just need more whole grains in my life. That Heidi knows her way around quinoa, let me tell you. Let me also tell you what I love about this dish. If you have tried quinoa, you probably like it. It has a mild nutty flavor and a delightful little pop under the tooth. Here it is tossed, while still warm, with a little butter that has been mixed with Tabasco, lemon juice, salt and mustard. An intoxicating combination if there ever was one.
I had a lonely little bag of red quinoa sitting on my “grains” shelf (yes, I am annoying – I have a large pantry) so I used that but regular old quinoa is fine, of course. (Although I have to say I really liked that red stuff and since I have a grains shelf, I plan to buy more.) Heidi mentioned that she ate this dish the next day fried rice style with some egg added in. I decided to add it from the start since we can always use more protein around here and, being a baker, I always have eggs in my refrigerator.
As I mentioned up top, this makes a lot of quinoa. We ate it three nights in a row and the third night I shared it with three other people. It tasted as good the third day as the first and because I shocked the asparagus in ice water so they would keep their lovely green color, it looked as good too. We doused ours with extra Tabasco one night, spooned on a tomatillo salsa the next, and dabbed it with an Asian sweet chile sauce the third. Very adaptable – just like the perfect pair of shoes.
2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
15 drops Tabasco sauce
Juice of half a lemon
¼ tsp. salt
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt (optional)
3 eggs, beaten
Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan along with a large pinch of salt. Add the quinoa, allow it to return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed.
Place the butter in a medium bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the mustard, Tabasco, lemon juice and salt and mash well to combine. Add to the pot of quinoa and stir to combine well.
Boil the asparagus in a large pot of salted water for just a minute or so. Immediately remove them to a bowl of ice water. Once they are completely cool, drain well.
Heat a small non-stick pan over medium heat. Melt a bit of butter in the pan and then add the eggs. Allow them to cook, occasionally lifting up the edges and allowing the raw egg on top to go to the bottom of the pan. Once the eggs are cooked, slide the omelet onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch pieces.
Add the asparagus, pine nuts, eggs, and yogurt to the quinoa and stir well to combine.