If you've cooked before with quinoa, that grain-but-not-a-grain, you've probably treated it like rice: throw it in a pot with some water and cook until the water absorbs. This works just fine most of the time, but once in a while something goes a bit amiss and the quinoa ends up a bit mushy, and its lovely nutty flavor gets muted.
I recently came across an innovative way to cook quinoa that protects it from that soggy fate, a technique that involves both boiling and steaming. This approach keeps the seeds from clumping together, giving you fluffy quinoa full of texture and flavor. Give it a try with the following recipe.
Note: If you can't find fresh-picked sweet corn, you may want to boil or grill the corn a bit first.
Lemon Quinoa with Corn, Scallions and Mint
Adapted from Sweet Amandine
(Makes 8 servings)
4 ears sweet corn (preferably fresh-picked), shucked
2 cups (about 10 oz.) quinoa
1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest, from two lemons
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. melted butter, or 3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly to remove any bitter coating.
2. Bring a 4- to 5- quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook uncovered for 7-8 minutes, until just slightly tender, like al dente pasta.
3. Drain the quinoa in a sieve, then set the sieve over an inch of simmering water in the same pot. Make sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the sieve. Cover the quinoa with a folded kitchen towel and cover the whole thing with a lid (don't worry if the lid doesn't fit tightly). Steam until the quinoa is tender, fluffy, and dry, about 5 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and let stand, still covered, for another 3-5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, butter or oil, honey, salt and pepper.
6. Cut the corn off of the cobs with a large, heavy knife.
7. Gently fold the quinoa into the dressing with a rubber spatula, then fold in the corn, scallions, mint and basil. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve at any temperature.