NYT Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

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This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in the NYT. The perfect picnic food or great for lunch. Don’t dress until you are ready to eat.

Ingredients:
1 c quinoa
1 1/2 c water
Salt to taste
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
3 TBSP finely chopped chives
1 TBSP finely chopped tarragon
1/4 c ounce ricotta salata crumbled

For the dressing:
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, puréed
Salt to taste
1 TBSP olive oil
5 TBSP buttermilk
Freshly ground pepper

Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and place a dish towel over the pan, then return the lid to the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or longer undisturbed. Transfer to a salad bowl and fluff with forks.

Steam the asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender. Rinse with cold water, pat dry and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add to the quinoa, along with the radishes, pine nuts, chives and tarragon.

Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, olive oil, buttermilk and pepper. Shortly before serving, toss with the quinoa and asparagus mixture. Sprinkle the feta over the top and serve. If desired, drizzle a teaspoon of the lemon-scented olive oil over each serving.

Serves 4 – 6.