Friday, July 08, 2011

Heidi Swanson's Little Quinoa Patties


A while back I wrote with excitement about Heidi Swanson's cookbook Super Natural Every Day. I've been cooking out of it off-and-on since I purchased it, and so far, I've been a little disappointed (possibly because I had such high expectations for it). However, last night we tried the Little Quinoa Patties and they were a sure winner; it makes me eager (and happy!) to keep trying more recipes from this book, despite having started off on the wrong foot.

The batch makes A LOT of patties. We cooked three small ones for each of us to go with a big salad, and I cooked another four today for lunch and there's still a good amount of quinoa patty batter in the fridge. Having cooked them the day after, I highly recommend preparing the mixture at least a few hours in advance, if you have time. My day-after patties stayed together much more nicely than the fresh ones last night. Also, please note: Your patties will look nothing like the ones in the photo above. They will be messy, misshapen and very handmade. Don't worry--they'll still taste great.

Also, I used fresh basil instead of chives and panko breadcrumbs instead of whole wheat ones because that's what we had on-hand and they were delicious -- I bet most herbs would work well. Also, the patties were a little dry on their own, so we whisked some mayonnaise and Sriracha together for a simple spicy sauce to dab on top (perhaps not so "super natural," but super tasty).


Little Quinoa Patties
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day

2 1/2 cups/12 oz/340 g cooked quinoa*, at room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup/.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh basil
1 small yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup/.5 oz/15 g freshly grated Parmesan
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup/3.5 oz /100 g panko bread crumbs, plus more if needed
Water, if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the basil, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes (or several hours!) so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch/2.5cm thick patties. I err on the very moist side because it makes for a not-overly-dry patty, but you can add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if need be. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 6 patties, if they'll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until the patties are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Alternatively, the quinoa mixture keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days; you can cook patties to order, if you prefer.

*To cook quinoa: Combine 2 cups/12 oz/340 g of well-rinsed uncooked quinoa with 3 cups / 700 ml water and 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, decrease the heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and you can see the little quinoa curlicues. (NOTE: I halved this and had exactly the right about of quinoa for the patty recipe.)

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