Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quinoa, zucchini and black eyed pea cakes with Romesco sauce

Delicious first and healthy next is how I would describe these cakes. The texture of these cakes comes from the quinoa, freshness and moisture from the zucchini and the black eyed peas buzzed in the food processor binds it all together. I used canned black eyed peas, but the next time I make this, I would prefer to use dried black eyed peas, soaked in hot water for an hour or more and then boiled and drained. Canned black eyed peas had a metallic taste which was masked by the addition of herbs and spices. But if you have the time, go ahead and use the dried peas.

Quinoa, zucchini and black eyed pea cakes with Romesco sauce

1/2 cup quinoa
1 medium zucchini - a slim one with not so many seeds
1 14 oz can black eyed peas (this one had salt)
1 teaspoon roasted cumin powdered
1/3 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeƱo (more or less depending on your tolerance for spice)
1 small clove of garlic, peeled, and coarsely chopped
Canola oil for pan frying
Kosher salt
  1. Wash the quinoa in a sieve to remove the bitter coating. In a 1 quart saucepan,  add the quinoa with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa cool.
  2. Grate the zucchini and set aside.
  3. Add the chopped onion, jalapeno and garlic to the food processor and give it a quick buzz to break up the aromatics into small pieces. Now add the drained black eyed peas and pulse till it is a paste and incorporated with the aromatics. Remove to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the grated zucchini, cooled quinoa, cumin powder and crumbled feta and mix by hand. Taste the mixture to check for seasonings and adjust according to your taste.
  5. Form into little cakes 3/4th inch thick and 2 inches round and lay them out on a sheet tray to be  refrigerated for an hour before frying. This step helps to firm up the cakes, so they don't crumble while frying. Cover the tray with cling wrap before putting in the refrigerator.
  6. When you are ready to fry, heat a non-stick griddle over medium high heat and add a thin layer of canola oil just enough to glaze the griddle. Gently lay the cakes in a single layer and cook without flipping for 3 minutes without flipping them over medium heat. Check if the bottom is brown and flip them to brown the other side. Cook for another 3 minutes on the second. Remove when the cakes are golden brown on both sides. 
  7. Serve with Romesco sauce. (Recipe below).
Makes 14 2 inch patties

Romesco sauce (my version)

1 large roasted red pepper, skin and seeds removed
1 small clove of garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put all the ingredients in the food processor except for the olive oil. Blend to a coarse mixture. Now slowly add the olive oil through the tube and continue to pulse to emulsify the sauce. Taste for seasoning.

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