We’ve had a learning curve with quinoa this year. The amazing health benefits of quinoa (it being a complete protein) and the need for having another gluten-free staple made this seed attractive. But here’s the scoop. It can go really, really bad or bland if you skip two important steps. The first step is that quinoa should have a good soak or rinse to remove it’s outer layer. Second, we believe it’s essential to cook it in some sort of veggie, chicken or beef broth (Brent prefers beef broth). Quinoa begs for a good flavor wake-up call so mix it with some delicious ingredients and give yourself a good old-fashioned (and by “old” we mean thousands of years old) meal.

Broiled Cod & Broccoli-Quinoa Pilaf*

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa (soaked in water for 15 minutes, then strained)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth, plus 1/8 cup
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/4 raisins (a mix of different varieties is suggested)
  • 1/2 cup roasted and chopped almonds
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 4 6-ounce pieces skinless cod (or other white fish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat broiler to high with rack in highest position.

Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook and stir until softened and starting to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the quinoa and 1 1/2 cups beef broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently until almost all the broth has been evaporated, about 10 to 12 minutes. In a separate small bowl mix the tomato with the vinegar, salt, and pepper and set aside (to let salt draw out the juices of the tomato a bit). Mix in the broccoli and raisins, cover and cook until the quinoa and broccoli are tender, adding up to 1/8 cup of broth if quinoa seems a bit dry, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat and mix in the almonds, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Meanwhile, pat fish dry with paper towels and gently coat with 2 teaspoons of oil on rimmed baking sheet. Season the cod with the paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Broil until fish is browned on top and flesh is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Serve with the pilaf topped with the tomato mixture.

Approximately 30 minutes, Serves 4

(*Adapted from Real Simple Magazine, January 2011)