I was super excited when my good friend Eva asked if we would like to use her family’s farm share while they visit her parents in Austria for the next few weeks. Eva is inspirational because she works full time as a pulmonary pediatrician and is raising the two most adorable one year old twins you’ve ever seen. She somehow does it all and still finds time to cook most nights! We are always trading tips and food magazines (my Bon Appetit for her Fine Cooking) and I’m hoping she’ll treat us to a guest post at some point!
Anyway, I thought it was a perfect chance to see if we could actually use all the veggies in a farm share every week before getting one for ourselves. Look at the haul – organic red onion, baby spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, grapefruit, apples, parsley, golden beets, sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes, and carrots! Apolinaras immediately claimed the grapefruit and sweet potatoes, and then I set about the task of figuring out what to do with the rest of the goodies!
I set the potatoes and golden beets aside so I could make a mash of them to serve alongside Tom Colicchio’s braised short ribs on Valentine’s Day (which the carrots and onions went into). The short ribs were amazing by the way, and I highly recommend the recipe! My next order of business was tackling the Swiss chard, which I was curious about but had never used before. I knew it could be cooked similarly to spinach but tends to a little bitter, so I decided to use it in a quinoa side dish with my sweet leftover sweet golden raisins. Eva also suggested pine nuts went well with the greens, so I tossed some of those in too, along with garlic, onions, and a bit of lemon juice for some acid.
I settled on pairing the quinoa with champagne poached salmon, which was one of the entrée choices at our wedding, because I stumbled upon a super old bottle of sweet champagne at the back of our liquor stash when I was looking for the ingredients for our Valentine’s Day cocktails. I used to like sweet champagne but my tastes have changed and I’m a fan of the dryer stuff now – I think this particular bottle moved with us from Chicago over 2 years ago! This was a wonderful way to finally finish it off. The champagne flavor is subtle, but you can definitely taste it, and the salmon paired well with the quinoa. Thanks so much to Eva for the farm share – I’m already looking forward to picking up next week’s box!
Champagne Salmon with Swiss Chard Quinoa
2/3 cup quinoa
1 1/3 cups chicken stock
1 bottle sweet champagne
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 dried bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 salmon fillets (ours were 7 ounces each)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stem removed and coarsely chopped (2 packed cups)
1/3 cup golden raisins
Juice of half a lemon
Place quinoa and chicken stock in a stockpot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, place a lid on the pot, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
Place champagne, vinegar, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt in a stockpot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and bring liquid to a simmer. Place salmon fillets in the pot and simmer for 10 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.
Meanwhile, place pine nuts in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, or until toasted. Remove pine nuts from the skillet and pour in olive oil. Sauté red onion for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender; add garlic and sauté one additional minute. Stir in Swiss chard and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until wilted.
Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl and stir in cooked Swiss chard, pine nuts, raisins, lemon juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve poached salmon over quinoa. Makes 3 servings.
Nutrition: 684 calories, 30.1g fat, 7.0g fiber, 50.0g protein per serving
Cost: $5.54 per serving (not counting the champagne)