Kitchen raid turns up satisfying bounty

Chicago TribuneFebruary 26, 2014 

FOOD FOODFAST-SALAD TB

When hungry "nothing" in the kitchen can become something. Here grapefruit, red bell pepper and grains combine in a delicious salad. MCT

BILL HOGAN — MCT

It was late in the afternoon yet I hadn't eaten lunch, and dinner seemed far off. A kitchen raid was in order. A quick look earlier had yielded nothing. Yet when the stomach demands, "nothing" can become something. A grapefruit, some jarred roasted red bell peppers, some leftover blue cheese -- it was coming together into a light salad with bright flavors. How about some crunch? Aren't their pistachios in the freezer?

Altogether it was a surprisingly good stone soup of a salad, definitely worth writing down to repeat. In this case, the citrus and pepper salad is bolstered by a cooked grain -- quinoa, because it cooks quickly, but farro would be great if you have more time.

GRAPEFRUIT, ROASTED PEPPER AND GRAIN SALAD

Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 25 minutes; Makes: 2 servings

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup white, red or black quinoa, well rinsed

2 red grapefruit

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3 jarred roasted bell peppers, rinsed, sliced in 1/2 inch strips

2 ounces Gorgonzola

1 ounce pistachios

Honey, optional

2 tablespoons chopped basil or parsley

Heat the water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; stir in the quinoa. Cover; lower heat to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the grapefruit into supremes: For each grapefruit, slice away about 1/4 inch from the top and bottom. Stand grapefruit on a cutting board, wide end down; beginning at the top, cut downward to remove the peel, following the curve and cutting through the membrane just to the surface of the fruit. Repeat all around the fruit. Holding the grapefruit in your hand, cut carefully between the membranes to release the segments, letting the juice and segments fall into a bowl. Squeeze the membranes to extract the juice. (Alternately, peel grapefruit; section into segments.)

Transfer grapefruit segments to a salad bowl; set aside. Measure the grapefruit juice in a small bowl to get 3 tablespoons. Whisk in the olive oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic. When quinoa is done, transfer it to a separate bowl; stir in the dressing. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Add the bell peppers, Gorgonzola and pistachios to the bowl with the grapefruit; stir to mix. Stir in the quinoa.

Taste for seasoning; if the salad tastes bitter or tart from the grapefruit, drizzle in a little honey to taste. Garnish with the herbs.

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