March - and peak blueberry season - are just around the corner, so I couldn't think of a better way to kick off our Cocktail Bites series with than with this little Spring-time quinoa cakes recipe. Featured first in last year's Spring edition, our Blueberry Quinoa Cakes are versatile and cocktail reception ready: the blend of savory and sweet pairs perfectly with apéritif-style wines (a dry or slightly off-dry Riesling would be fab), and can be served warm or at room temperature.
Blueberry Quinoa Cakes
makes 12 small cakes
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 1/2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup + a handful of fresh blueberries
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small sprigs rosemary
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
First, make your drizzles: In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine the honey and water with a scant pinch of salt, whisking to incorporate fully as you bring it to a slow simmer. Add the rosemary, give it a quick stir, then turn off the heat; let sit until cooled. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the crème fraîche and lemon juice; season with a pinch of salt and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Now, for the cakes: Combine the quinoa, salt, red onion, garlic, mint, parsley and beaten eggs in a large bowl. Gently fold in the 1 cup of blueberries, making sure they don't break; then start gently folding in the panko just until the mixture is easily moldable - you may not need the full cup, or you may need a little more. Make 12 small cakes from the mixture.
Add the oil to a large pan, and bring up to medium-high heat; once the oil is hot, add 6 or however many cakes will fit without crowding the pan. In batches, cook the cakes for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned, taking care when you flip not to break the berries. Once browned, remove cakes to a paper towel to cool and soak up any residual oil.
Serving: The cakes are great at room temp! For each serving, top one cake with a drizzle of the rosemary honey, a drizzle of lemony crème fraîche, and a few blueberries.