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Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant-Tomato Ragu and Smoked Mozzarella

Mood: Healthy

Cost: Not so Cheap

Difficulty: Advanced

Rating: XXXX
The Tease
Recipe provided by Fireraven.

Time To Make
Prep 35 minutes, Cook 45 minutes

For Quinoa Cakes:

• 1 1/2 cups water

• 1 cup quinoa

• 1 large egg, lightly beaten

• 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For Topping:

• 1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

• 1 small onion, finely chopped

• 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

• 1/2 cup drained bottled roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped

• 3/4 cup water

• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

• 1/4 lb smoked mozzarella, diced (1 cup)

• Medium Stock Pot

• Mesh Strainer

• Bowl

• Baking sheet

• Plastic Wrap

• Colander

• Heavy Skillet

Preparation (Do it!)
1. Make quinoa cakes: Bring water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.

2. Meanwhile, wash quinoa in 3 changes of water in a bowl, then drain well in a fine-mesh sieve (Mesh Strainer).

3. Stir quinoa into boiling water and return to a boil, then simmer, covered, until quinoa is dry and water is absorbed, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, then stir in egg.

4. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and lightly brush with oil. Lightly oil a 1-cup dry-ingredient measure. Pack enough quinoa into measure with a rubber spatula to fill it two-thirds full. (If spatula becomes sticky, dip in water.) Unmold onto baking sheet and gently pat quinoa into a 4-inch-wide patty with spatula. Make 3 more quinoa cakes, brushing measure with oil each time. Chill cakes, uncovered, at least 15 minutes. 5. Make topping while quinoa cooks and chills: Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and drain 30 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of eggplant to extract liquid, then pat dry.

6. Cook eggplant, onion, garlic, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, roasted peppers, and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is very tender and mixture is thick (if dry, thin with a little water), about 10 minutes.

7. Cook quinoa cakes: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Carefully add quinoa cakes and cook, turning once carefully and adding remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons oil, until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes total (pat cakes to reshape with cleaned rubber spatula while cooking if necessary). Transfer to plates.

8. To serve: Return eggplant ragù to a simmer and stir in parsley and half of mozzarella, then simmer, stirring, until cheese just begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Spoon over quinoa cakes, then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.


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