If you've got the time, toast the quinoa in a little grapeseed oil until it's golden brown before adding the water - it adds a great nutty flavour that works well with the asparagus. You'll want to use this method every time you cook quinoa.
- 200 gm quinoa, rinsed (1 cup)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 skinless chicken thigh fillets
- 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1cm pieces
- 2 salad onions, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 3 cups watercress sprigs (firmly packed)
- 1 cup mint (firmly packed)
- 125 ml buttermilk (½ cup)
- 60 gm mayonnaise
- 35 ml lemon juice
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp finely chopped French tarragon
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1Preheat oven to 220°C. Bring quinoa and 300ml water to the boil in a saucepan, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked (10-12 minutes). Spread on a large tray to cool.
- 2Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat and fry chicken, turning once, until golden brown (5-6 minutes). Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast until just cooked through (4-6 minutes). Rest for 5 minutes, then shred.
- 3Blanch asparagus until bright green (30 seconds to 1 minute), refresh and drain, then combine in a large bowl with quinoa, chicken, salad onion, watercress and mint.
- 4For tarragon-buttermilk dressing, whisk ingredients in a small bowl to combine and season to taste. Drizzle over salad to taste, toss to combine and serve.