Several months ago I asked my dear friend Danielle what kind of recipes she wanted to see. She thought about it for a moment, and then said she was always looking for easy recipes. And quinoa. Dani, this one’s for you.
Danielle’s answer tripped me up way more than it should have. Easy is subjective. What’s easy for me may not be easy for you and vice versa. I like to think easy indicates simple technique, small time commitment, and not a lot of ingredients. Easy isn’t always easy to create. There’s no long simmering sauces to develop flavors, no dressings with ten ingredients to create the “what is that flavor” sensation, no using four separate bowls and pans to make one dish. There’s nothing to hide behind. An easy dish either works or it doesn’t.
But as tricky as easy is, it was the quinoa that really stumped me. I have dozens of uses for farro, but exactly one for quinoa. Cook it when you’re out of rice, serve it as a side to round out the meal. I add a liberal amount of butter and eat it contentedly, but I never think “Quinoa. That’s what I want for dinner.” That’s not quinoa’s fault, but we still have a tentative relationship.
After months of thinking, enter quinoa patties- cold cooked quinoa mixed with corn, chives, eggs, olive oil, shallots, and spices. If you wanted to get really fancy you could add some chilis or feta. I made these yesterday for a quick before-work lunch about noon, and did not feel the need to snack at all before family meal at 9pm. That’s a remarkable feat. The quinoa pairs nicely with the corn and chives, and frying them brings in some caramelization to the corn and quinoa both that tempers sweetness and brings in a lovely savory note. And I was reminded of the best reason to eat quinoa while making these patties- the pleasant pop that you get when you take a bite.
I wouldn’t say that quinoa’s my new favorite grain just yet, but I was wrong to stick it in the “rice substitution” category. What’s your favorite way to eat quinoa?
Corn and Quinoa Patties with Chives
These patties are slightly delicate, so take care while flipping them. I found that using a healthy amount of olive oil for frying and letting the patties get a good sear before touching them helped them hold together much nicer. If you don’t already have a preferred quinoa cooking method, I would rinse the quinoa well under running water and drain. Combine the cleaned quinoa in a saucepan with its equal volume in water (so for 1 cup of quinoa, 1 cup of water) and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until done, about 15 minutes.
Makes about 10 patties
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup minced chives
1 shallot, minced
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
In a large bowl beat together the eggs and olive oil. Add in the quinoa, corn, chives, shallot, and spices. Mix well so everything is evenly distributed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add in a good amount of olive oil- you want a glugg, not a drizzle. Scoop the quinoa batter, a quarter cup at a time, into the pan, leaving enough space so that the edges of the patties don’t touch. Let the patties get a nice sear, about three minutes, on the bottom before flipping. When the patties are cooked on one side flip and cook on the other, about two minutes. Serve warm.