In Which Quinoa Meets Cake

OK, that title is somewhat misleading. We made nothing even close to desserty cakey cake, but rather quinoa cakes, a much more savory (and healthy) version of cake. Or not even a version at all, really. So technically quinoa only met cake in name only. And maybe slightly in shape? Anyway: quinoa cakes. With poached eggs. I had become interested, some time ago, in the recipe from Annie’s Eats, and was quite excited when it made its way onto our weekly menu.

Quinoa Cakes with Poached Eggs

The finished dish – my hands were too messy for in-progress pics.

Now, as seems to happen with us, this recipe was probably a bit too involved to technically make it onto the mid-week menu. Between cooking the quinoa (do that in advance, people) and the patties falling apart all over the place and learning to poach an egg, it took quite a bit of time, though I think with practice it would be much quicker.

However, in the end, it was yummy and hence worth it. We served it over spinach, which worked well, but I would suggest lightly dressing the spinach in something to make it a bit more interesting. The quinoa cakes were crispy and nubby and chewy and cheesy, and the poached eggs (despite our inexperience) made a lovely natural sauce that soaked in between all the grains of quinoa and lent a richness.

In other words – quinoa cakes: for the win.

Quinoa Cakes with Poached Eggs

So proud of the poached egg. So. Proud.

Quinoa Cakes with Poached Eggs
From Annie’s Eats.

A word to the wise – these patties are difficult to form, as the quinoa mixture doesn’t really hold together very well. However, do it as best you can and re-form while cooking, as they hold their shape surprisingly well once cooked. In fact, we made all the patties  at once and reheated a couple later in the week for an easy second dinner (we just had to poach a couple of eggs). As for the egg poaching, we plunged the eggs in shell into the boiling water for 15-20 seconds before cracking open and poaching normally, a MasterChef trick that is supposed to ease the difficulty of egg-poaching. It was still difficult – but maybe less so? I’ve never poached any other way…

Yield: 5-6 Servings.

Ingredients
•2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
•2 large eggs, beaten
•½ tsp. coarse salt
•1/3 cup minced fresh chives, plus more for garnish
•2 large shallots, finely chopped
•1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•½ cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
•Olive oil, for frying patties
•(for serving) Shaved Parmesan
•(for serving) 6 poached eggs (one for each patty)
•(for serving) Salt and pepper

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, eggs, salt, chives, shallots, Parmesan, and garlic.  Stir to blend.  Mix in the bread crumbs and stir gently until evenly incorporated.  Form the mixture into six evenly sized patties, about 3-4 inches in diameter.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat and swirl to coat.  Add the patties to the pan so that they are not touching.  Let cook about 4 minutes or until the first side is lightly browned.  Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and let the second side cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes more.  Repeat with the remaining patties, using additional olive oil if needed.  Top each patty with a bit of shaved Parmesan, a poached egg, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

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