I am going to miss our CSA box this week, as we are “camping” on our lot in Underwood Washington, a sleepy town near the bluff overlooking the Columbia River and 5 minutes from the Hood River Bridge that crosses the river. Everyone says we arrived just in time, as it has been June-uary and even Feb-july until 2 days ago.
I was so busy working and packing until Sunday morning that I didn’t have time to cook—and use up the scapes, summer savory and tarragon from last week’s box, not to mention all the chive blossoms from the week before. But all those herbs were preserved in the jars in the fridge until we loaded the ice chest, so they were perfectly ready to go into last night’s salad, our contribution to a patriotic potluck party in our Underwood neighborhood.
This is a big salad, and even though there were close to 50 guests at the party, I took home enough leftovers for lunch today. You could easily cut the amounts in half and serve 8 to 10—or 25 if there are 20 other salad choices like last night. Slice the radishes in this week’s box and toss them in as well.
Lentil and Quinoa Salad
2 cups tiny green lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 cup quinoa (I used half red quinoa and half regular)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Real Salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped summer savory (the leaves of one bunch)
1/3 cup finely chopped tarragon leaves (from one bunch)
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeds removed, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 red pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ to 1 cups scapes
½ cup or so of chive blossom florets, separated from the blossom
Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add a shake of salt (1/4 teaspoon or so) along with the lentils and cook until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, place in a large bowl, drizzle with some olive oil and set aside to cool.
Rinse the quinoa and drain in a fine-mesh sieve. (Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that repels insects and birds and can create a bitter taste. Rinsing with warm water removes the saponin.)
In another saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add another shake of salt and the rinsed quinoa. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook about 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl of cooked lentils.
Mix the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over the lentils and quinoa. Stir in the savory and tarragon. (Be sure to use plenty of herbs because they provide dazzle.) Toss in the cucumbers and red pepper, and season to taste. Chill in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld.
You have the option of grilling the scapes or sautéing them in some oil until they are tender. When I went to grill the scapes last night, the propane tank was empty. Instead of switching to another tank, I just cut them into the ½-lengths beforehand and pan-sauteed them. Either way, season the scapes with salt and pepper. When they are tender, toss them into the salad with the chive florets. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper seasoning. Refrigerate until you leave for the party.