Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quinoa Cakes with Poached Eggs

Yesterday for breakfast I decided to make these quinoa cakes which I had seen about a month ago on one of my favorite websites Annie's Eats. Previously, I had only made quinoa in a salad type capacity so I thought it would be fun to try something new with it. Also, seeing as how it's considered a super grain I would like to incorporate it more into my diet.

I have never actually made patties before, such as hamburgers, so I found it a little difficult to shape the patties and keep them from falling apart. The original directions in the recipe were to fry the quinoa cakes until golden on both sides. After attempting to fry one and having it fall apart on me I decided to go in a different direction. Instead, I shaped all of the patties and then baked them on trays lined with parchment paper and a little non-stick cooking spray (just in case). The result turned out crispy and I felt even better knowing that the recipe was made healthier by avoiding the frying.

I have to admit that the quinoa cakes tasted quite plain on their own. Even though they included shallots, chives, cilantro, and Parmesan cheese there was not much seasoning other than salt and pepper. The poached egg on top was nice because the egg yolk, once broken, seeped into the quinoa cake and gave it more flavor. I also enjoyed the cakes the next day with a sunny side up egg rather than a poached egg but the effect was just the same.

I think that next time I will add some more seasoning to the quinoa mixture itself, such as cumin or red pepper flakes, so that the cakes stand up on their own a little more in terms of flavor. Still, it was nice to have something different for a change and I also appreciated being able to eat the poached egg with something other than toast.

Quinoa Cakes with Poached Eggs
Makes about 10 palm-sized cakes
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (for directions on how to cook click here)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup (about 2-3 stalks) fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (about 1/8 of a bunch) fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Eggs and vinegar (for poaching)
  1. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, chopped herbs and onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and beaten eggs. 
  2. Mix in the bread crumbs and stir gently to incorporate.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with a little bit of olive oil. 
  4. Take large handfuls of the quinoa mixture and form into patties roughly the size of your palm. Place on the baking tray and repeat with the remainder of the mixture.
  5. Bake the cakes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown. 
  6. Meanwhile, to poach the eggs bring a small pot of water to a simmering boil. Add a splash of vinegar and a little bit of salt. Prepare the egg by cracking it into a small ramekin or bowl.
  7. Once the water reaches a gentle simmer (not boiling) use a spoon or spatula to create a whirlpool in the middle then carefully slide the egg from the bowl into the center of the whirlpool.
  8. If the egg sticks to the bottom of the pot, wait about 30 seconds then gently nudge it free using a spatula or slotted spoon.
  9. The egg will be ready after 2-3 minutes, as soon as you see the egg white is completely solid and white. Carefully use a slotted spoon to lift the egg from the water and drain any excess liquid before placing on top of the quinoa cake.
Note: The poached eggs have to be made one at a time (otherwise it will be too crowded in the pot and the yolks will probably break when trying to remove them). If that seems like too much work another suggestion is to make the eggs sunny side up on a large surface big enough to accommodate more than one at a time. Also, the quinoa cakes should be eaten immediately after being topped with the egg otherwise the egg yolk won't have the same effect when broken into.

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