I know, I know - more Ottolenghi. This book's getting a real workout! The quinoa salad became a must-try after I bought Persian dried limes in Dandenong. Instead of going the usual route of piercing the limes and having their fragrance infuse a liquid, they are ground to a powder and used as a seasoning in this recipe. Powdering the limes is easier said than done, as Ottolenghi hints in his preamble. Michael went through several rounds of food-processing, mortar-and-pestling and sieving to yield 2 tablespoons of coarse powder. It's also very heady stuff, with Michael complaining of some dizziness (and olfactory hallucinations the next day!) from the intense aroma.
The dried lime lends a unique edge to another salad that's bursting with grains and herbs. Preparing the elements takes some energy (we cooked the three grains separately, as well as roasting the sweet potatoes and prepping the herbs), but there's lots to share around once its done and it keeps well for packed lunches. (We ate pomegranate tofu on the side, which added further to the prep effort and lunch bounty.) For a vegan version I'd recommend replacing the feta with cubes of smoked or marinated tofu; chickpeas could work well too.
Quinoa salad with Persian dried lime
(slightly adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi; recipe also appears here)
700g sweet potato
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup wild rice (needs 1 cup water)
a generous 3/4 cup basmati rice (needs 1 1/3 cups water)
1 cup quinoa (needs 1 cup water)
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons sage leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons oregano, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons dried and powdered Persian lime
6 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
4 green onions, green part thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
200g feta, broken into chunks
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into inch-length cubes. Spread them over a baking tray or two, drizzling over half the oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender but not disintegrating, about 20 minutes.
While the sweet potato bakes, cook the wild rice, basmati rice and quinoa in separate saucepans. In each case we covered the grains with the required water, brought them to the boil, and then simmered until tender. The basmati rice and quinoa absorbed their water completely, but we drained the wild rice once ready. Transfer the cooked grains to a large mixing bowl.
Heat the remaining oil in a frypan. Sauté the garlic until lightly golden, then add the sage and oregano and stir-fry for a minute more. Pour the mixture over the grains in the bowl. Gently stir in the sweet potato, lime powder, mint, green onions, lemon juice, feta, and some salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.