If you find yourself in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at lunchtime on a weekday, head straight to Café Carambola. You’ll be welcomed into this tiny, bright restaurant by the ebullient smile of Carlos Aguilar. His wife, Colomba – whose recipes are fresh, delicious combinations of Latin flavors, is most likely (repeatedly) answering customers’ questions about what is in this or that delicious dish.
I plan my trips into town around picking up one of their fantastic salads for lunch. And if I can’t decide, I order the sampler. My current favorite? Incan Quinoa Salad, described as “tangy tomatillo-herb dressing over quinoa, sweet corn, radishes, cucumber and queso fresco.”
The other day, I picked up the Incan Quinoa salad, which I fully intended to eat when I got back to the house. However, I decided to drive through the car wash on the way out of town. The salad was gone by the time I hit the rinse cycle. So good…
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take Colomba’s class called Nuevo Latino Salads next month, so I tried to replicate the dish the best I could. Further research is needed to tweak the ingredients – and I conveniently have another trip to town tomorrow. Right around lunch time.
- 2 small tomatillos, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 scallion, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1-2 limes (to taste)
- Pinch salt
- 1 Tbs honey
- 1 ½ cups cooked tricolor quinoa
- 5 radishes, sliced thin
- 1 cucumber, sliced thin
- 2 ears fresh corn (or use 10 oz frozen, thawed)
- Queso Fresco (you can substitute Feta cheese)
- ½ bunch fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish
- Mix dressing ingredients together in jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well to combine completely.
- Place all salad ingredients in large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to combine. Garnish with additional parsley.
Next week’s class is simply called “Tamales” and a friend and I have signed up to take it. If I master them, I’ll share the recipe.
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