Wild Garlic Cakes With Salbitxada Sauce

As anyone who reads her 101 Cookbooks blog will know, Heidi Swanson is the very lovely champion of all things vegetarian. She is also the source of inspiration for these quinoa patties, which are great with just a squeeze of lemon but work like a dream with the salbitxada sauce. Tara, who errs away from bread crumbs whenever she can, makes the cakes with ground flaxseeds instead, for those who want a gluten-free option. Make more than you need of the wonderfully versatile salbitxada, a Catalan sauce similar to romesco. Store it in the fridge for up to a week to have ready to serve alongside any rice-based dish or grilled vegetables, meat, or fish.

Ingredients

Serves 4

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  • 1½ cups/250g quinoa
  • about 42/3 cups/1.1 liters vegetable stock
  • 4 tsp/20g unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup/10g flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 3½ oz/100g feta, crumbled into ¾-inch/2-cm chunks
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 8 oz/250g baby plum tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup/10g mint leaves
  • salt and black pepper

Herb oil

  • 1 green chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup/15g flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup/15g mint leaves
  • 7 tbsp/100 ml olive oil
  • salt

Preparation

1. To make the herb oil, place the chile, parsley, mint, oil, and ½ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a small food processor and process to form a smooth sauce with a thick pouring consistency.

2. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan, add the stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, uncovered, for about25 minutes, stirring from time to time, until a porridge-like consistency is formed. You might need to add a bit more stock if the quinoa is sticking to the pan. At the very end, fold in the butter until it melts, followed by the parsley and then the feta, making sure the feta stays in chunks.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, place a large sauté pan over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and cook for about5 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice so that all sides get some good charred color. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, so that it turns golden brown without burning. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with¼ teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Chop the mint and fold it into the tomatoes just before serving, as it will start to blacken once chopped.

4. Spoon the warm quinoa porridge into shallow bowls, top with the tomatoes, finish with a drizzle of the herb oil, and serve at once.


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