I live in the first ski resort town in the country. My house is fifteen minutes from the mountain; I work next door to the Sun Valley Lodge, former playground of people like Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lucille Ball. When I’m feeling fancy, or when the women in my office have a little extra time on a Friday afternoon, we head up to Sun Valley Village and have lunch at a little cafe called the Konditorei.
The Konditorei is beloved in Sun Valley (at least among my coworkers) for their amazing European pastries. The resort in its early days was mostly run by people from Austria, so there’s still a heavy influence. But the sandwiches, salads, and soup they serve are equally as good.
I ordered something like this salad last time I was there and was pleasantly surprised. It consists of quinoa studded with dried currants and diced dried apricots, with little bits of Brie and leafy, peppery arugula. It’s truly the perfect lunch salad — not too much, not too heavy, but filling and satisfying. The shallot-mustard vinaigrette helps keep the Brie and fruit from being too cloying or rich, and the arugula ensures you get greens as well as grains.
While I know I’m going to indulge in the resort’s turkey brie panini at some point, I have to say, I am really thrilled with this salad that doesn’t seem like a sacrifice. I’ve included the recipe here for those of you looking for a hearty, delicious spring salad — serve it on the side of chicken, if you like, or eat the double-sized portion as an entree. Either way, I think you’ll agree that this salad is worth passing up a turkey panini.
- 1/2 cup quinoa, well-rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 ounce Brie, chilled thoroughly, and diced
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 Tbsp shallot, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon or coarse brown mustard
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp honey
- Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 13 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add dried fruit and simmer for two more minutes, or until the stock is absorbed and you can see the ring around the quinoa. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, make your dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a mini food processor and puree until smooth — alternatively, just whisk with a fork until well-combined. It won’t be perfect, but what is?
- Toss quinoa in a bowl with the Brie cubes. The only way I could make my Brie cube was to put it in the freezer for 15 minutes and use an incredibly sharp knife, so take that to heart. Add dressing and mix very thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired.
- Add in arugula and mix until thoroughly combined. The dressing should coat everything pretty much equally, and the arugula should be interspersed with the quinoa.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.