I’ve been cooking quite a number of recipes from Around My French Table since November through French Fridays with Dorie so it’s no surprise the book never returns to the bookshelf. There are also a few other cookbooks sharing this honour. Among those, the books by Ottolenghi and Moro are vying for the top spot. These authors introduced previously exotic ingredients into my pantry and opened my eyes to Northern African flavour combinations. To be honest, this week’s French Friday recipe is not the most exciting. Quinoa, Fruit and Nut Salad in a lemon ginger vinaigrette is similar to my usual main course salad and I fail to see any challenge.
On a second look, Greenspan's recipe leaves plenty of room for the cook's creativity to shine. By simply changing up the combination of dried fruit, nuts, and vinaigrette, this quinoa salad offers a nice backdrop to showcase different ethic cuisines. I have Moroccan on my mind because of its traditional use of dried fruit and nuts in savoury dishes. My salad turned out to be a fun dish to take advantage of all the "exotic" ingredients I can get my hands on.
I used a combination of dried cherries, apricots, and black mission figs for a balance of sweet and tart. For the nuts, toasted almond slices, pistachios, and roasted black sesame seeds complete the picture. Chiffonade of mint and cilantro keep the salad tasting light and refreshing. As for the vinaigrette, I let my creativity ran wild. My vinaigrette is built upon olive oil and fresh squeeze tangerine juice. To that, I added a mixture of spices including allspice, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cumin, ground ginger, salish (smoked salt), and sumac. It's the kitchen sink approach! Oh, and who can forget the sweet tart pomegranate molasses. This ingredient really elevate the salad to something special. The dollop of strained yogurt in Greenspan's serving suggestion fits right in with my Moroccan theme.
I really enjoy my interpretation of the recipe. There is a depth of flavour that is at once rich yet refreshing. The bold and exotic flavour suits quinoa very well. Since all ingredients are quite safe at room temperature, this salad would make a great addition to potluck or lunch-on-the-go. I like to pack individual serving in widemouth mason jars because they look so cute. Best of all, this is the kind of nutritious ready-to-eat meal that I look forward to enjoying after a rigorous workout.
Curious how other French Fridays with Dorie member interprete this versatile quinoa salad? Click here to check them out!