For the uninitiated, "Salbitxada" is a Catalan sauce that’s like romesco, the garlicky concoction made with nuts, olive oil, and red peppers. These yummy little garlic cakes hit all the right notes: Quinoa makes it healthy, wild garlic, a bit trendy, and aged cheddar cheese gives it a satisfying richness. British chef Yotam Ottolenghi gives a shout out to another one of our favorite cookbook creators, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, with the below delish dish.
Read on for Ottolenghi's mouthwatering recipe for Quinoa and Wild Garlic Cakes with Salbitxada Sauce, adapted with permission from his new book Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking From London's Ottolenghi ($21, amazon.com).
Quinoa and Wild Garlic Cakes with Salbitxada Sauce
1 1/2 cups quinoa
16 wild garlic leaves, thinly sliced (1 1/2 oz.), or 6 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (2/3 cup)
1 small red onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 green chiles, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup coarsely grated aged Cheddar
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. dried bread crumbs
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
Salt and black pepper
Salbitxada sauce (optional)
1 medium red pepper (5 oz)
2 red chiles
5 cloves garlic, skin on
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (scant 1/2 cups)
2 tsp sherry vinegar
7 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. First make the sauce. Place the red pepper, chiles, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and raost for 10 minutes. Remove the chiles and garlic, turn the red pepper, and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Once the skin is blistered and the pepper roasted, remove it and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. When cool, peel and seed the pepper. Do the same with the chiles and also peel the garlic.
3. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F.
4. Place the almonds in the bowl of a small food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Add the pepper, chile, garlic, and tomatoes and continue to process to a paste. Add the sherry vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt and then slowly pour in the oil until you have a thick sauce.
5. Throw the quinoa into a saucepan with plenty of boiling water and simmer for 9 minutes, until tender but still with a bite. Drain in a fine sieve, refresh under cold water, and set aside until completely dry.
6. Place the garlic leaves, red onions, eggs, green chiles, cottage cheese, Cheddar, bread crumbs, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, stir well, and form the mixture into 2 oz. patties each about 2 1/2 inches/6-cm. wide and 3/4-inch/2-cm. thick.
7. Place a nonstick pan over medium heat and add half the oil. Fry the patties in batches for 3 minutes on each side, until golden, adding oil as needed. Transfer to a baking sheet and finish off in the oven for about 8 minutes. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice, or with the sauce spooned on top or alongside.