The other night, while my husband made a delicious roast pork loin, I was in charge of cooking the side dish. I followed the German instructions on my package of quinoa (which called for too much water and cooking time) and ended up with a soggy, risotto-like pot of mush. So much for stereotypes about exacting Germans, eh? Anyway, we were left with about 3 cups of quinoa that I was determined not to waste. Because its texture was so similar to risotto, I decided to try a riff on arancini (fried risotto balls) for lunch today.
We were both surprised by how delicious these quinoa cakes were. Next time, I might even ruin my quinoa on purpose, just to have another excuse make this dish. Give this recipe a try next time you’re craving something different with an Italian vibe.
…a tasty end
-2 1/2-3 cups cooked quinoa (preferably slightly overcooked in excess water, so the grains cling together)
-1/2 c. grated parmesan
-2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
-pinch of red pepper flake
-1 tsp. fresh basil
-1/2 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
-1/2 tsp. ea. salt and pepper
-approx. 2.5 c. panko or regular bread crumbs
-vegetable oil, for frying
1. In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and oil.
2. Put the panko in a wide bowl and season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large skillet with 3 Tbsp. oil until very hot. Heat your oven on its lowest setting and line a cookie sheet or pan with paper towels.
4. Take a heaping tablespoon of quinoa mixture in the palm of one hand and shape into a flat round approx. 3/4 in. thick (the size of a small crabcake). Gently coat in the crumb mixture and place in the hot oil.
5. Repeat. Fry, gently turning so that each side is golden brown. Add more oil as needed. Remove cooked cakes to the heated oven to keep warm while the others cook.
6. Top with mushroom ragout and serve immediately.
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