Friday, October 26, 2012

Fermented Friday: Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

Fermented Friday: recipes featuring yeast, wine, beer or some form of fermentation.

I really shouldn't buy uncommon ingredients unless I have a specific recipe in mind.  But a good deal will get me every time.  Enter pomegranates.  I bought two of them and both have been sitting in the fruit basket for over a week.  Last fall I made this Butternut Squash Salsa with pomegranates and it was a hit.  I'll probably end up making it next week, but I wanted to use pomegranate a little differently here.  Well, that and I sorta said I would try not to overwhelm you with squash and pumpkin recipes.

I also bought too many pears for an apple, pear and candied ginger pie I made last week.  They were on sale too, of course.  After the pie, I threw together an apple, pear and candied ginger crisp with dried cranberries.  Apparently I'm on an apple-pear-candied ginger kick.  Since I needed to use up what I had on hand I decided on a quinoa salad with pomegranate, apple, pear and candied ginger.  Seeing as it's Fermented Friday we're going to cook the quinoa in wine and use it to infuse our fall fruits.

I was feeling a bit under the weather when I made this and rather queasy.  It had zero appeal to me in the moment so I feel like it's a bit lacking.  My taste tester (aka: mom) assured me it's one she would make again but readily admitted she would never know the recipe included wine.  The pomegranate seeds add a juicy burst of texture to the soft quinoa and mellow pears.  Apple lends an extra crunch and helps carry the fruity flavor.  Soaking the fruit and candied ginger in wine helps the flavors mingle, especially the ginger.  While the pomegranate takes center stage with color and texture, it's the ginger that packs in the flavor punch.

Like I said, I wasn't feeling well and thought this was missing something taste-wise.  Maybe a splash of orange juice or a little citrus zest?  Whatever you do don't leave out the ginger.  And if you see me in the grocery store stocking up on sale produce, feel free to raise an eyebrow or two. If you scrunch up your nose and wiggle it just a little, I might be persuaded to put that produce back.  Well, some of it anyway.

Apples, pears, pomegranate seeds and candied ginger are infused with wine and tossed with quinoa for a colorful, protein-packed salad.

Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white zinfandel, divided (or sweet white wine of your choice)
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/3 cup diced apple
1/3 cup diced pear
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1 Tbsp finely chopped candied ginger
salt, to taste

* In a medium saucepan bring water and 1/4 cup wine to a boil.  Add quinoa, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
* Meanwhile, combine apple, pear, pomegranate seeds, candied ginger and remaining 2 Tbsp wine.  Let stand while quinoa cooks.
* When quinoa is finished cooking, fluff with fork and refrigerate until chilled. Stir in fruit and wine mixture; season to taste with salt. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Food for Thought: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live them." -John F. Kennedy  

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