Tabule de Cereales Andinos (Quinoa Salad with Queso Fresco, Avocados and Olives)

August 05, 2010

Stolen ‘con permiso’ from Doris Rodriguez de Platt, Owner of Andina, a Peruvian restaurant in Portland, Oregon

Stolen ‘con permiso’ from Doris Rodriguez de Platt, Owner of Andina, a Peruvian restaurant in Portland, Oregon, this recipe uses quinoa, (pronounced keen wa), which is often referred to as an ‘ancient grain' but it is in fact the seed of a dark green leafy plant. Quinoa has been cultivated for over 5,000 years and is known in the South American Andes as “the gold of the Incas” and the “mother of all grains”. It contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, is a great source of minerals, and is gluten free. For more on quinoa click here.

Andina draws inspiration from the native culinary traditions of Peru, as well as the current contemporary cuisine practiced by Peru’s leading chefs. Doris and her family, bring visiting chefs from Peru to Andina to help develop both traditional dishes from the Andes, as well as NovoAndean creations, which blend native ingredients with innovative presentation and modern techniques. The lively evening bar scene in the adjacent Bar Mestizo offers an extensive tapas menu, Latin American cocktails, a raw bar and live Latin-inspired music nightly.

Andina has been recognized as “a rare Peruvian gem on the West Coast” by Gourmet Magazine and was chosen by the Oregonian as “2005 Restaurant of the Year.” With gluten free and vegetarian menus as well, Andina has something for everyone – if you are in the Portland area you have to check it out!

About the chef: A native of Cajamarca, in the Andes of Peru, ‘Mama Doris’ helped create Andina, along with her husband and three sons, as a place to share their love of Peruvian food.

Doris remembers daily visits to the market in Peru for fresh vegetables, fruit and meat and the burnt smell of eucalyptus from the kitchen stove. Her family’s communal table always held two empty chairs, just in case someone stopped by during a meal. Doris continues these traditions today, commuting between her family home in Corvallis, OR and the dining room at Andina, in Portland’s Pearl District where she greets diners with the same gracious welcome she learned from her mother.

The Platt household is filled with Peruvian food, culture and language. “When I cooked for my family, I used the same ingredients from my childhood,” says Doris. She also incorporated her training as a pharmacist to measure and calculate all the ingredients. Doris initially met John Platt, when he was a Peace Corps volunteer in her hometown. She reconnected with him 5 years later when they were both teaching science in Lima. They married and had two sons before moving to Oregon. Together they have blended two cultures and countries, and celebrate this union each day when they welcome diners to Andina.

Tabule de Cereales Andinos makes 6 restaurant servings and is serves at Andina for three different prices: Peque/ small plate $9, Mediano/ medium plate $17, Grande/ large plate $32.

*This recipe calls for Pasta de Aji Amarillo which is a South American hot yellow pepper paste and is available at specialty stores oron line.

Quinoa Ingredients: 
4 cups red quinoa
4 cups white quinoa
2 avocados (diced)
2 Roma tomato (peeled and diced)
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup olive oil
¾ cup key lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Top Salad Ingredients: 
1 small cucumber (peeled and sliced)
2 Roma tomato (peeled and diced)
¾ cup Cotija cheese (diced)
8 black olives, (pitted and sliced)
½ red onion (sliced)
1 cup corn kernels 
3 tablespoons cilantro chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
3 tablespoons Aji Amarillo (hot yellow pepper paste)
1 cup olive oil
½ cup key lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Quinoa:
Wash both the red and white quinoa and then cook with 3 times its volume of salted water until al dente.
Drain and add ½ cup of olive oil, stir and chill until cool.
Gently mix in avocado, tomato, parsley, cilantro, and key lime juice.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Top Salad:
Toss vegetables and cheese in a medium bowl. 
Add cilantro, Aji Amarillo, olive oil and key lime juice toss gently. 
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for Plating:
For restaurant presentation used a lightly oiled circular mold to shape the quinoa – letting it chill in the refrigerator to set up.
Place on a plate, removing the mold. Add the salad on top and serve.