So we’re not posting the recipe for the Crab Avocado Quinoa Salad with Technicolor Tomatoes from the Salad as a Meal cookbook by Patricia Wells. Made exactly as it’s written, the salad wasn’t horrible with respect to how it tasted, but let’s just say that we realize why this is one of the few recipes in the book that doesn’t have an accompanying photo.
Instead, we are posting our third attempt at it, with a few modifications to fit our personal taste and style. Taste-wise, the yogurt dressing was a little too thick and overpowering, and we switched out omega-3 star salmon for the crab, which we couldn’t find beautifully fresh anyway. In terms of style, creamy white yogurt doesn’t “combine” very attractively with ripe avocadoes and tiny, seed-y quinoa. And another thing? We cook our quinoa in a slightly different way (the way we cook rice, with just enough water to get fully absorbed by the quinoa; not like pasta, which requires draining water after it’s cooked).
The final result is pretty deericious. Oh, and it’s just pretty, too.
And while we’re here, we may as well tell you all that the copy of Salad as a Meal cookbook and the kiwi green Le Creuset stock pot that’s perfect for poaching salmon, cooking quinoa, etc…is going to Katie Buntsma!
Salmon, Avocado and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing
3 cups water chicken or vegetable stock (we used water)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed (we used black quinoa)
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 pound (2 cups) fresh cooked lump crabmeat (we used the same amount of poached salmon)
¼ cup minced tarragon leaves (we left out the tarragon and mint because the first time, it was too weirdly herbaceous)
½ cup minced fresh mint (we left out the mint; see above)
1 large ripe avocado, halved pitted peeled and cubed
we also added: chopped leafy greens and cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
Yogurt and Lemon Dressing
2 cups mixed cherry or pear tomatoes, halved
In a large saucepan, bring the water or stock to a boil over high heat. Add the salt, quinoa and bay leaves. Bring back to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and translucent, abotu 15 minutes. (When quinoa is perfectly tender, each grain bursts, sporting a tiny white sprout.) Drain any remaining liquid and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel, replace the lid, and let sit, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Fluff. Let cool.
Place the cooled quinoa in a large, shallow bowl.
And here’s where we deviate quite a bit from the recipe…
Add the crabmeat, tarragon, mint, We placed leafy greens, cucumber and avocado in a bowl, then tossed with just enough dressing to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly. At the very end, we added poached salmon separated into large flakes and gently tossed to coat the salmon.
In another bowl toss the tomatoes with just enough dressing to coat them lightly and evenly as well.
Mound the quinoa salad on the plates. (Alternatively, place a 4-inch mold at one edge of each plate and spoon aportion of the salad int othe mold, pressing down lightly. Remove the mold.) We mounded the green salad portion into shallow bowls, then added the quinoa on top. Presentation-wise, this looks a lot more appetizing, and each person can mix it together him/herself.
Arrange the tomatoes alongside the quinoa salad and serve.
Patricia’s Wine Suggestion: Domaine de la Mordoree Lirac Blanc: grenache blanc, viognier, roussane, marsanne, picpoul, clairette and bourboulenc.
Yogurt Lemon Dressing
½ cup lowfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice (we used only 1 tablespoon)
¼ teaspoon lemon zest salt or fine sea salt
we added about 2 tablespoons water to thin it out
In a jar, combine the yogurt, lemon juice and salt (and water). Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Taste for seasoning. The dressing can be used immediately.
(Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake to blend again before using.)
Lemon Zest Salt
Combine and grind in spice grinder: 1 tablespoon each lemon zest and fine sea salt. Transfer to small jar and store in refrigerator, sealed, for up to 1 week