Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Leek, Bacon and Parsley

I have an obsession with collecting cookbooks.  Therefore, every Christmas there always are a few cookbooks on my wish list.  I love to read through them, learn new ingredients, and to give me inspiration to try even more different types of things and to think of new flavor combinations.  This past year I have also come to love farro a lot, but I went to buy some this summer and strangely enough there were problems with the supply, so instead I turned back to quinoa.  So with more quinoa in my cupboard and my mother-in-law wanting to try something with quinoa in it while she was visiting, I found this recipe based off of one in Homemade Winter by Yvette Van Boven.  My husband was a little bit cautious as he thought there were too many things going on, but I disagreed and the flavors seemed like they would go well together with the hearty quinoa adding some filling to otherwise not very filling salads.  In the end, it was a hit and the topping of bacon made everyone happy.

Quinoa Salad with Leek, Bacon and Parsley
5 smaller leeks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup quinoa, soaked
5 oz. bacon
2-3 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 bunch parsley
arugula (3-4 cups)

juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a non-stick skillet, fry the bacon.  Remove when crisp and let cool on a plate covered in paper towels.  Reserve the bacon fat to cook the leeks over a medium heat heat.  When they are hot, but not yet browned, add the white wine and lower the heat and braise with the lid on the pan for about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the quinoa and a pinch of salt.  Cook the quinoa for 10 minutes.  Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  Make sure quinoa is well drained.  Check on the leeks.  If they are done, place on a plate to cool.  In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, leeks, sesame seeds and most of the parsley.  (Leave a little parsley for garnish.)

For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice and garlic.  Continue whisking as you add the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over the quinoa and leek mixture.

Arrange the arugula in a bowl, then place the quinoa and leek mixture over the top.  Finally, garnish with the rest of the parsley and bacon.
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