Lemony Multi-Grain Salad


Lemony Multi-Grain Salad 

From The Kitchn

Twas a week after Christmas and all through the house, not a creature felt skinny, not even young Ralph.  (Ralph’s our puppy, andddd I’m tired of rhyming).

Yes, it’s time for the post-holiday bloat.  Show me one more cookie, pie, or piece of meat and I may explode on the spot.  We’ve returned from our stay in the ‘burbs, the house is full of our new loot including 700 new dog toys (all of which have squeakers, thanks relatives, haha), and of course a few kitchen goodies.  As the resident family foodies we always receive our fair share of cookbooks and kitchen trinkets, but this year had a unique theme – olive oil!  We received awesome specialty oils from 3 different people, netting 7 oils and 2 balsamic vinegars overall.  So we did what seemed obvious – grabbed a loaf of good crusty bread on our way back to the city and set up a little olive oil tasting station in lieu of dinner.  The array had a few flavor-infused oils, including a delightful Meyer lemon oil.  While it doesn’t make the best dipping oil, we immediately agreed it was destined for a pasta salad.  So today I whipped up this great salad for a light holiday-detox lunch.  If you don’t have a lemon oil, the original recipe actually called for a combo of fresh lemon juice and regular olive oil, so I’m sure that would be really good too.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 oz Israeli couscous (it’s the bigger pearl-shaped balls, not the itsy bitsy stuff – orzo would be a good sub)
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, woody ends discarded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 oz faro (if you can’t find faro, any chewy grain will do – maybe pearl barley or wheat berries)
  • 1/4 cup Meyer lemon oil OR 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice of 1 Meyer lemon OR 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice of 1/2 regular lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz soft goat cheese

Preparation

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.  Toast almonds, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir frequently and be very careful not to burn.  Set aside.
  2. In the same skillet over medium heat, add couscous and toast until light brown, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir frequently and be careful not to burn.  Set aside.
  3. In the same skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon regular olive oil.  Add asparagus and saute until crisp but tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Fill two pots with water and bring to a boil.
  5. Add couscous to one pot and faro to the other.  Boil couscous about 5 minutes, or until tender but not mushy.  Boil faro about 9 minutes, or until tender but chewy.
  6. In a large bowl toss almonds, grains, oil (and lemon juice, if using), asparagus, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. To serve warm, divide salad between 4 bowls and crumble goat cheese over each portion.
  8. To serve cold or room temperature, chill salad for at least one hour, crumble goat cheese into salad and stir together.  (If you stir it into the warm salad it will melt and be somewhat unattractive, as well as more muddled in flavor).

Serves 4.

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