Today is one of those nice days where a lot of people I love are together under one roof. My in-laws are visiting, and my brother and his wife are passing through town with our favorite nephew (also, yes, only nephew). I got to putter around in the garden for a while, sneaking up on weeds and picking ingredients for this salad while my mother-in-law, who is an amazing cook, made the rest of the meal.
I know I once said I couldn’t tolerate a one-color meal, but it turns out that maybe I can if the color is springtime green. I wish that I had taken a picture of it all together, but you will just have to imagine how lovely the table looked with this salad alongside a bright green pea-and-basil soup and followed by an equally brilliant avocado mousse. So green!
The top left picture below is the creamy cilantro and sweet corn dressing that I used for the salad. It’s just corn, cilantro, lime, and salt, but it has such a creamy texture and bright, sweet flavor that I’m already thinking about how else I’m going to use it this summer. Suggestions, as always, are warmly welcomed–you guys have such good ideas, thank you for sharing them!
Quinoa Salad with Radishes, Peas, Arugula, and Cilantro-Sweet Corn Dressing: First make quinoa by combining 1 c. quinoa with 2 c. water and a couple pinches of salt in a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and put a towel under the pot’s lid to absorb some more moisture as you work on the rest of the salad. After 10 minutes or so, transfer quinoa to a salad bowl, fluffing with a fork occasionally to help it cool.
Make dressing by combining 3 c. fresh (or frozen and defrosted) corn kernels in a blender with a big handful of cilantro, chopped, the juice of a large lime, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. (If you are using fresh corn, make sure to use the dull side of your knife blade to scrape the milk from the cobs into the blender, then break and toss the cobs into the freezer to use next time you make homemade vegetable stock.) Puree dressing until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides often, then taste and adjust flavor with more lime, salt, or cilantro.
Finely dice a big handful of radishes. Thinly slice a big handful of snap peas on the diagonal. Chop a big handful of chives and a double-big handful of arugula. Add all of these vegetables to the bowl with the quinoa, toss to combine, then add about half the dressing and toss again. Taste the salad, season with additional dressing and maybe another pinch of salt (unless you’re serving feta on top). Serve on a bed of lettuce, maybe drizzled with more dressing or sprinkled with some feta cheese.