Golden Semolina Cakes
These aren't sweet, not at all. I hope that doesn't mean you stop reading. These are the lovely side that you've been hoping for, you just didn't know it. Especially if you don't want to have just another heap of whatever grain and are tired of potatoes, this is the perfect way to snazz up your dinner plate. So, yes, as a side. You could also have these on top of a salad, maybe, and have a meat-free meal. To be honest, I also ate them as a hand-held picnic option, and that was quite nice, too.
Unlike the majority of my recipes, you do have to plan a bit ahead with this one. This works best, actually, if you make the quinoa-semolina-mushroom mixture the night before. For me, though, this works amazingly well because then dinner prep the next night is super quick.
Golden Semolina Quinoa Mushroom Cakes
Yield: 12 cakes
½ cup quinoa, rinsed if needed (you can also use 1 1/2 cups leftover cooked grain)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup coconut milk
¾ cup finely ground semolina
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups panko or regular breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Lightly fluff the quinoa with a fork and cover it again.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; set aside. Once the quinoa is cooked, add it to the large bowl with the mushroom mixture; set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the semolina until very smooth. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the semolina is thick enough to hold soft peaks when the spoon is lifted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the semolina from the heat and add to the large bowl with the mushroom mixture and quinoa. Season with salt and pepper and let cool for 15 minutes.
Stir the beaten whole egg into the grain mixture, and spread evenly in an ungreased 7-by-11-inch pan; it will be about 2 inches thick. Let cool at room temperature, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Ready a baking sheet by lining it with parchment or foil, and spraying it well with olive oil baking spray; set aside. Put the panko/breadcrumbs in one shallow bowl, adding 1 tsp of salt. Arrange a second shallow bowl right by the first, and add the beaten eggs.
Take the chilled semolina mixture out of the fridge, and turn the container over on a cutting board. If you jiggle the pan a bit, it should plop right out. Cut the block into 12 squares. Dip the cakes into the egg and turn to coat, letting the excess drip off. Coat the cakes in the panko/breadcrumbs and shake off excess any excess. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Continue until you have coated all of the squares. Spray the tops of each of the squares with olive oil baking spray.
Slide the pan into the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan, and using a thin spatula, flip each cake over. Return the pan to the oven for 15 - 20 more minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm as a side or enjoy with a salad.