Oven roasted quinoa with salmon and asparagus
My mum is so addicted to quinoa, she thinks she spearheaded its recent revival. I love my mum for this. She will call me with ‘exciting news’ and then tell me all about the food that I eat for lunch nearly every day and how good it is. But then, my mum was always up on new food trends; even when we were kids she was always experimenting with bean shoots or raw foods!
I’m crazy for quinoa and if you haven’t tried this ancient South American grain yet you really must give it a go. It is as easy to cook as bulgur wheat or rice and a great alternative to both. I’ve actually never cooked the stuff before but then we don’t eat a huge amount of rice, pasta or grains in this household, so finding an alternative was never an issue but now that we’re cutting down our gluten intake and reducing carbs, quinoa seems to be the ultimate weapon. Most instructions on how to cook suggest boiling it but because I’m keen on making authentic one-pot dishes at the moment I wanted to try roasting it. As it happens it turned out to be a great way to cook the quinoa and the asparagus at the same time, giving them both a little roasting and boiling. I was supremely impressed and will be making this dish again many times I’m sure. It’s a lovely light, spring-like dish and the perfect celebration dish for my Mother’s Day!
Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
You will need a large baking dish in which you need to lay an over-large strip of baking parchment.
Spread the raw quinoa onto this baking parchment and lay the asparagus on top, sprinkle with a little olive oil and season well with salt, pepper, fennel seeds and fresh lemon thyme and bake in the oven for 8 minutes.
Open the oven and pour the water over the quinoa and asparagus and then bunch the parchment paper up around the veg and quinoa so that the water can boil and steam at the same time. Close the oven door and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Season the fish well with salt and pepper and then after the 5 minutes remove the dish from the oven. Carefully open the paper and lay the fish on top. Close the paper over the whole lot and place it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes until the fish is beautifully pink and the quinoa is fluffy and plump.