Posts Tagged ‘Felipe Rojas-Lombardi’

Quinoa a la Jardinera

May 14, 2012

We tend to prefer quinoa inĀ  salad form. Even when I make a quinoa pilaf, we like it even better the next day served cold as a salad.

In my ongoing quest for a more exciting quinoa pilaf, I pulled off the shelf a book by the late Felipe Rojas-Lombardi: The Art of South American Cooking. Since quinoa is native to South America, it isn’t altogether surprising that Chef Rojas-Lombardi’s tome has a few interesting quinoa dishes.

His Quinoa a la Jardinera is a particularly nice pilaf style preparation. Warm quinoa is tossed with a colorful confetti of sauteed diced vegetables, including red and green bell peppers, red onion or scallion, carrots, and celery. Other vegetables, such as corn and peas, can be also added. You can tell from the original instructions that the recipe comes from a high-end restaurant chef rather than a home cook–the vegetables aren’t just to be chopped or minced, they are to be cut in a 1/8″ dice.

(Chef Rojas-Lombardi had an interesting background. Originally from Peru, he worked as James Beard’s assistant, was a founding chef of the gourmet food store Dean & Deluca, and then went on to become executive chef at the Ballroom. His restaurant featured tapas, and he is credited with starting the tapas trend in U.S. restaurants.)

The pilaf’s flavor is enlivened with an interesting mix of ginger and herbs. The herbs are particularly important because quinoa on its own has a pretty subtle flavor. When I first served this to my husband, he liked it, but thought it lacked the “big flavor” of quinoa salads I have made in the past. I add more dill (better), and served it the next day cold as a salad with some grape tomatoes tossed in. On the side, I served some guacamole and tortilla chips. Now, that combination–the fresh acidity of the tomatoes, the pungent garlic creaminess of the guacamole, the crunch of the tortilla chips, the subtly chewy-crunchy texture of the quinoa with the backnotes of herbs and ginger–now that had really big, big flavor.