Quinoa has become very popular lately with many chefs and is more and more likely to be found in household cupboards here in the U.S. and around the world. Packed with nutrients and a great source of non-meat protein and amino acids, this small grain-like seed can be a very important part of a vegetarian diet and has been cultivated in parts of Peru and Ecuador for thousands of years. Quinoa is cooked in much the same way as rice and can be used in a wide variety of dishes, but my all-time favorite way to use it is as a substitute for bulgar wheat in the classic Greek salad known as tabouleh. In this recipe we will serve this delicious salad with one of my favorite fish, steelhead trout.
Before getting started you will need to gather together the following ingredients:
4 6 oz. steelhead trout fillets, skin on
2 cups organic white quinoa (or a mix of red and white)
4 cups water
5 green onions, sliced very thin
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/8 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
4 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and diced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
plain yogurt and lemon wedges (for garnish)
First combine the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pot with a pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook the quinoa for 20-25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
Once cooked, place in a mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When the quinoa is cool add the green onions, cilantro, parsley, mint, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. The longer the tabouleh sits the better the flavor will be.
Next heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and season the trout with salt and pepper on all sides. Starting with the skin side down cook about 3 minutes per side, remove from the pan to a baking dish and finish cooking in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.
To serve, place a cup of the tabouleh in the center of a plate with the trout on top garnished with the yogurt and lemon wedges. Enjoy!
Joshua Auerhammer is the chef/owner at Culinary Design Studio in Bigfork.
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