Monday, July 30, 2012

Cro-quinoa-ettes with corn relish, parsley pesto, and zucchini

A fabulous farmer's market meal! Bonnie and I adapted this recipe from the amazing It is definitely a bit labor-intensive, but it's basically one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. The cro-quinoa-ettes (get it?) are crispy and savory, and they get topped with spicy-and-sweet corn relish, zucchini that's pan-fried so it's sweet and caramelized, a lemony tomato-and-cuke salad, and a tart parsley pesto sauce.

For the parsley pesto: 
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped
2 cups parsley leaves, lightly packed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processors and process until it forms a thin paste. Taste and add a little more olive oil and/or lemon juice if you need more liquid.
For the cucumber and tomato salad:
1 large cucumber, diced
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

For the corn relish:
2-3 earns of corn, shucked and kernels sliced off
4 scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons red chili flakes (or less, if you don't like spicy foods)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

Combine the scallions, chili flakes, corn, and salt in a bowl. Heat the canola oil in  a pan over medium high heat. Add the corn mixture and cook for about 3 minutes, until the corn is just cooked through. Remove from heat, add lemon zest and juice, and stir well to combine.

For the zucchini:
4 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slabs
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large frying pan over a high flame. Lay the zucchini in a single layer (this part is important!). Cook until the side touching the pan starts to form dark brown spots, then flip and do the same with the other. Remove and season with salt and pepper.

For the cro-quinoa-ettes:
4 cups cooked quinoa (start with 2 cups dried)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cumin power
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons rice vinegar (or other vinegar)
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (Note: if you don't have this ingredient in your pantry, don't worry. There's so much flavor in all the other ingredients that it will be ok if you don't include it).
4 eggs
canola oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil. The mixture should feel almost like dough that you can form a wet ball with. (If it's dry, add another egg). Heat a large nonstick skillet, and add a few tablespoons of canola or other cooking oil. using about 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture each time, form little balls and then smush them into thin patties with your hands. They should be about 1/4-inch thick. After you add them to the pan, smush them with a spatula to flatten them further. (The thinner they are, the crispier they'll be!). Cook on one side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip, then do the same on the other.

To serve:
Spoon some parsley pesto into each bowl. Top with two of the cro-quinoa-ettes, and little piles of the zucchini, corn relish, and salad.

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