Monday, July 26, 2010

Quinoa & Sweet Corn with Crispy Potatoes & Pesto

This might be one of the best things I've ever created. It took a few tries to get it right: the first time it was just corn sauteed quickly with shallots and topped with some fresh chopped basil; the second time the quinoa came into play, as well as the fried cubes of yukon gold potatoes; this last time though, I nailed it by adding some sweet, tangy summertime tomatoes and a bold pesto.

The potatoes act as a sort of vegetable crouton and they work great as a final garnish. The quinoa, shallots and corn are all sweet and mild so that the cherry or grape tomatoes shine through. The pesto is enlivened with some lemon juice and zest and I used the remaining amount tossed with some whole wheat spaghetti the next day. Good, crisp sweet corn is essential here and it should be easy to find this time of year. It doesn't need to be cooked for more than a minute or two.

I served this on its own as a vegetarian meal but it would be a welcome, unique side to any variety of grilled fish, steak or chicken. Leftovers are great the next day although the potatoes lose their crispiness. Make this now. Do it.

Serves 4 as a main course or 6-8 as a side:

For the pesto:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Large pinch kosher salt

In a blender or food processor, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. The pesto can be made a couple days in advance and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

    For the quinoa and sweet corn:

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 1 medium yukon gold potato, cut into quarter-inch cubes
    • 1 cup sliced shallots
    • 4 ears corn, cut off the cob
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 cups cooked quinoa
    • 1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes

    In a skillet add one tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to use.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the remaining two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add the shallots. Stir occasionally until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and toss to coat with the oil and shallots. Sprinkle the sugar over and stir again. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the quinoa and season to taste with salt. Folde in the tomatoes and take the pan off the heat.

    Transfer the quinoa/corn mixture to a serving dish and spoon the crisp potatoes over the top. Drizzle with the pesto. Serve warm with more pesto on the side.


    Tracy said...

    This looks delicious. What a great photo! I find quinoa needs a little something. It just doesn't have the bulk that I need, so potatoes are a perfect companion.

    Lisa said...

    I just made this and it was so great! thanks for the recipe!