Quinoa and Grilled Salmon Salad
2 cups quinoa
1 quart water
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
2 scallions, finely minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets
Rinse the quinoa under cold water until the water runs clear. Put the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Add the quinoa and cover. Cook the quinoa covered over high heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and slowly simmer the quinoa until the liquid is almost absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Turn off heat, but leave the cover on and let the rest of the liquid be absorbed. When cooked, the quinoa should still be a little chewy. Fluff it with a fork and pour it out on a rimmed baking sheet. Allow the quinoa to cool at room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare a hot grill.
When the quinoa is cool, place it in a large bowl. Add the scallions and garlic. Whisk together the wine vinegar with 3/4 cup of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a desired amount to the quinoa. Add 1/2 cup of the Italian parsley, 2 tablespoons of the mint and 2 tablespoons of the oregano and toss. Set aside if using immediately or cover and refrigerate if not.
Lightly season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and brush them with olive oil. Place them flesh-side down on the hottest part of the grill. Cook the fillets for about 1 minute without moving them. Carefully turn over. (If they seem to stick, let them cook a bit more until they can be easily moved without any resistance.) Cook them for an additional 1 minute. Remove the fish to a cooler part of the grill and continue cooking about 5 more minutes until the flesh begins to flake and is opaque in color. Cool or refrigerate.
Flake the salmon into bite size pieces and gently toss into the salad. Garnish with the remaining chopped mint, oregano and Italian parsley.
Chef Michael Carmel is the department head of Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of Charleston.