Summer's Splendor Quinoa Panzanella
Summer is the best for fresh produce, and I love to serve it up in a multitude of easy ways. One I love is a tossed salad with a homemade vinaigrette. This recipe is one of my favorite variations using croutons as the bread in my 'panzanella'.
1/2 Cucumber or 3 mini seedless cucumbers
4 tablespoons feta
20 chopped cherry tomatoes
1 ear of corn
1/2 of a baguette (stale bread is best)
1/2 cup quinoa
Mince 2 cloves of garlic
3-4 big tablespoons of cilantro chopped
10-15 leaves of basil chiffonade or chopped
lemon juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon minced
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 of a red onion minced
Prepare the vinaigrette first in order to let the flavors sink in.
Make 1/2 cup quinoa according to package directions and let cool.
Place entire ear of corn (do not remove husk) into the microwave for 2 minutes. Let stand until cool and able to handle then use knife to remove corn kernels from stalk. Set aside and let cool. Chop cherry tomatoes in half, 3 small seedless cucumbers or 1/2 of one large cucumber thinly sliced/chopped to the size of a quarter. Cut or crumble your feta into small chunks.
While the quinoa is cooling and the vinaigrette is soaking, heat up 1/4 cup olive oil in a large flat pan. Tear apart any baguette (sometimes I even use olive bread) into bite size pieces and sprinkle with a little bit of fresh ground pepper as you place into the hot pan. Keep an eye on your homemade "croutons" so that they get golden, but not burnt on all sides.
Once all parts are complete and cooled, toss all ingredients. Serves 4 as a side for dinner, or 3 as a big salad. When I make this for just myself, I don't toss the croutons into the salad, and set them aside to be tossed in when eaten later in the week. The vinaigrette gets more potent because of the onion, lemon and garlic as it sits - so use less of those ingredients if you plan on using it a few days later.
This salad is great alone, or along side any grilled meat or fish. August is one of the best times of the year to make a salad with tomatoes, corn and fresh herbs - there is no other month they will be as cheap! Enjoy seasonal eating at its best :)