Quinoa, the formerly mysterious ancient grain, is now a staple pantry item in households everywhere. We love topping it with an egg for breakfast, veggies for lunch, and chicken for dinner, but all of that quinoa action can get a little boring. Try mixing up your grain game with millet, a satiating cereal crop that can be eaten in sweet or savory dishes. We suggest whipping up the tasty Crispy Millet Salad with Roasted Radishes, Asparagus, and Poached Eggs from Everyday Whole Grains: 175 New Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice, Includes Every Ancient Grain ($15; amazon.com) by Cooking Light Magazine executive editor Ann Taylor Pittman.
“Perfect for a light spring meal, this warm salad features two of the season’s loveliest vegetables,” writes Pittman. “If you’ve never tried roasted radishes, you’re in for a treat: Roasting makes them sweeter with a juicy texture.” As for the fried aspect of the dish, Pittman says, “Don’t worry. If you keep the oil temperature as hot as specified, the grains don’t absorb much oil: This does not take whole grains into unhealthy territory. More importantly, frying turns whole grains into the crunchiest, most wildly delicious little nuggets with amazing recipe versatility. They’re great on creamy soups, in salads, on casseroles, and as breading.” Try the recipe below.
Crispy Millet Salad with Roasted Radishes, Asparagus, and Poached Eggs
1 lb medium-width asparagus spears, trimmed
9 Easter egg (multicolored) radishes, trimmed (about 1 bunch)
2½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp thyme leaves
2 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup Crunchy Fried Millet (see below)
4 large eggs
Crunchy Fried Millet
3 cups cooked millet
6 cups canola oil or peanut oil
1. To make the Crunchy Fried Millet: Line a jelly-roll pan with several layers of paper towels. Spread cooked grains out into a thin layer on paper towels. Let stand 1 to 2 hours to dry out surface moisture, stirring grains occasionally.
2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven until a thermometer submerged in oil registers 375°F. Do not use a smaller pot (moisture in the grains will cause the oil to bubble up vigorously). Add ½ cup cooked grains to oil; do not add more than this, or oil may bubble over. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until grains are browned and crisp; do not allow temperature of oil to drop below 350°F. Remove fried grains from pan with a fine wire mesh ladle; drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining grains, ½ cup at a time.
3. To assemble the bowl: Preheat oven to 425°F.
4. Place asparagus and radishes on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Roast at 425°F for 15 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly browned, stirring after 8 minutes.
5. Combine 1½ tbsp oil, ¼ tsp salt, vinegar, thyme, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add 1 tbsp vinaigrette to Crunchy Fried Millet; toss to coat.
6. Divide radish mixture evenly among 4 plates; drizzle remaining vinaigrette evenly over salads. Spoon about 3 tbsp Crunchy Fried Millet mixture over each salad.
7. Add water to a large skillet, filling ⅔ full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer. Break each egg into a custard cup. Gently pour eggs into pan; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Carefully remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon, placing 1 egg on each salad.