Makes twelve 3- to 4-inch cakes, or many bite-sized ones
For golden quinoa cakes
1 Hatch chile
1/2teaspoon whole coriander seed
1/2teaspoon whole cumin seed
11/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups water
Pinch of kosher salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup green onion, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2cup cheddar, grated
1/2teaspoon kosher salt
1/4cup sweet rice flour (also labeled "Mochiko")
Canola oil for frying the cakes For the salsa fresca 2 French breakfast radishes, diced (or 4 round radishes, diced)
8 to 10sweet cherry or pear tomatoes, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 lemon, juiced (yield about 1/4 cup)
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon sour cream
Preheat your broiler and roast the chile until wrinkled and blackened, turning once. Place roasted chile in a heat-proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap to make it easier to remove the skin. When cool, carefully remove skin (the tip of a sharp knife is helpful), stem, and as much of the membrane and seeds as you'd like -- keeping more will yield a spicier result. Dice chile, using gloves if desired.
While chile is roasting, toast whole coriander and cumin over medium heat, until fragrant, in a Dutch oven or similar pot. Transfer whole spices to a bowl and crush with the back of a spoon or pestle.
Place Dutch oven back onto the burner and melt butter, stirring, until it begins to brown and smells nutty. Add quinoa and stir, constantly, until it begins to get golden and toasty. At this point I always think it smells a little bit like deliciously roasted cheese.
Add two cups of water, crushed whole spices, and a good pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed, about 15 to 17 minutes. Spread hot quinoa out on a large rimmed baking sheet to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, the diced Hatch chile, and the remaining ingredients (from egg through sweet rice flour). Stir to thoroughly combine and then let mixture sit for a few minutes to hydrate the flour.
Meanwhile, combine radishes, tomatoes, avocado, and lemon in a bowl. Add salt to taste and let mixture sit until ready to eat.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Set out a large rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper. If you want to make larger (3- to 4-inch) cakes, scoop quinoa mixture with a quarter cup measure, tap against your open palm to release, and then flatten the cake with the back of the cup measure before placing on the waxed paper. Repeat with remaining cake mixture. For bite-sized cakes, use a tablespoon to scoop and flatten the mixture.
Cook the cakes in the skillet for about 3 minutes per side, until crisp and golden. Transfer to a serving platter. Continue cooking the remaining cakes, using additional oil if necessary.
Right before serving, stir cilantro and sour cream in to salsa fresca. Top cakes with salsa fresca and enjoy.