A friend in Andorra once told me that the key to finding good produce at the local markets was to look for slugs. If there were slugs on the lettuce the grower didn't use pesticides or other chemicals and the food was (likely to be) fresh and organic.
And, you may ask, why slugs and not snails?
Simple: no self-respecting Spanish (or French) housewife would allow a snail to be in her garden. Absolutely not.
They are removed at first sight…..and carefully saved, nurtured, as it were. They are, in the words of my Andorran neighbor, "Para la sopa!" (For the soup – to be eaten.) They don't eat slugs….
Kalyn, of Kalyn's Kitchen, and founder of Weekend Herb Blogging has been talking about the health benefits of oregano. Since my basil is still in the growing stage, and I had to replant my thyme, I find myself using more oregano than I have in the past. And the more I use it the better I like it. It may replace basil in some of my recipes.
Oregano is another of the Mediterranean herbs that have been used for centuries, both in cooking and preserving food, and for medicinal purposes. Like many herbs it is full of antioxidants but also has demonstrated antimicrobial properties. Like thyme, it is more often used dry than fresh, but fresh oregano has a wonderful taste, lighter and less astringent than dried. The plants are hardy and many have been adapted to colder climates. In this recipe I used it both in making the salad dressing and as part of the salad. The flavor was wonderful! As to the quinoa – I talked about that on another WHB post.
Salad with Sausage and Quinoa Time: 20 minutes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken stock (or the amount of liquid your package recommends)
8 oz (250 gr) sausages, I used 6 rather skinny ones made with herbs
1 small jar (can) white (or green) asparagus, 8 – 10 oz (300gr)
8 – 10 cherry tomatoes
fresh spinach, 6 oz (180gr)
fresh lettuce, 6 oz (180gr)
3 tbs fresh oregano leaves
2 tbs snipped fresh garlic or regular chives
Creamy Herb Dressing
Combine quinoa and stock in small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until done, about 15 minutes. When done, uncover and fluff. Cook sausages on barbecue grill 10 – 15 minutes or until done (can also be sautéed in nonstick skillet – same amount of time). When done cut in half. Peel carrot then, with peeler, continue to thinly slice carrot until you reach your fingers. Eat what's left! Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Drain asparagus. Wash and prepare spinach and lettuce as needed, tearing the large leaves. Put spinach and lettuce in large salad bowl. Add 2/3's of the dressing and toss well with tongs to combine. Spread the salad out in the bowl. Spoon the quinoa in the center. Arrange sausage, asparagus, carrot and tomatoes around the quinoa. Sprinkle the herbs over all. Drizzle a bit of dressing and serve, any extra dressing on the side.
Creamy Herb Dressing
1/2 cup Greek or plain yogurt (4oz, 125ml)
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar or white whine tarragon vinegar
1 tbs fresh snipped chives Substitute 2 tsp dried
1 tbs fresh snipped oregano Substitute 2 tsp dried
3 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
Snip oregano and chives with scissors. In small bowl whisk yogurt, mustard and vinegar. Add oil, a bit at a time and whisk well. Add herbs. This will keep a week.
This Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by Ellie at Kitchen Wench. Please stop by her blog on Monday for the complete recap of all the wonderful herby recipes. I've just been happily reading her most interesting blog when I got to the part about this week's deadline…I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date….