November 15, 2011

Broad Beans and Quinoa

It was a ferociously hot day here in Sydney yesterday, the hot winds were blowing straight from the Outback and the only place to hide the heat was an air-conditioned space - the office, a car or a shopping centre. I felt like melting. My body, having spent the first 24 years in the moderate climate of the Arctic circle, does not cope with heat very well. In my 6 years of living in Sydney, I still haven't acclimatised enough to handle days like this one. And It is certainly not helping that during this time of the year, my natural way of thinking would be to start preparing comforting autumn casseroles, warming soups and stews. Fortunately the vivid spring produce is gently directing me back on the right track and inspiring me to cook foods more suitable for the hot days to come.


 I picked up a huge bag of gorgeous broad beans from my local green grocer. Simply prepared with quinoa and some of these preserved lemons I stashed away some weeks ago, they were a perfect meal for a warm night. You could add fresh herbs, like parsley and lemon, along with some finely chopped spring onions in the dish. Be careful not to cook the broad beans for too long, you want to keep them more like al dente, than make them mushy.

 Broad Beans and Quinoa
(serves 2-4)
(recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller)

 200g quinoa, rinsed
375ml water
1kg broad beans
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 wedge preserve lemon*
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
shallot green/spring onion, finely sliced (optional)
fresh herbs (optional)

* see my recipe for preserved lemons here.

1. Place the rinsed quinoa in a medium sized saucepan. Add the water and bring to boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid and let sit for a further 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.

2. Remove the outer bods of the broad beans and blanch the beans in plenty of boiling water for just a couple of minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water, then peel the inner skins off the beans. 

3. Finely chop the zest of the preserved lemon (discarding the flesh) and add it to the quinoa. Season the quinoa with some fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add in the broad beans, shallots and fresh herbs. Serve as a salad or a side dish to fish.