Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad
chiles en nogada, which we make in the autumn, the beginning of the pomegranate season. And there are several holiday dishes that call for these jewel-like seeds, notably a festive guacamole with avocados, mangoes and pomegranate seeds.
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium fennel bulbs (2 1/2 pounds), cut lengthwise into 1/4"-thick slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is just tender and lightly golden, 10–12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, cumin, and sugar; cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain; return to pan. Cover; let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork; transfer to a large bowl.
Using a small sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from orange. Cut between membranes to release segments into a bowl with juices. Squeeze the membrane for any remaining juice. Add orange segments with juices and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to quinoa; stir. Add fennel mixture, chile, and herbs. Toss gently to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a platter; sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.