I’ve been quite enamored with my cast iron skillet over the last two years. I shower it with love, via multiple generous rounds of careful oiling, and I take great pride in how well seasoned it has become since I began using it. In a short time, it has become more of a workhorse in my kitchen than any other pot or pan. I’ve heard that in some families, the cast iron skillet can become a family heirloom passed down through generations, and I can see why. Not sure my son will want this skillet in 20 years, but I’m going do my darnedest to make it so.
My current favorite use for my pan is griddle cakes of every kind. That’s just a fancy name for fritters, which in turn are just a fancy name for patties. I try to use whatever vegetables are in season (leeks! sweet potatoes! beets!), pair them up with some grains, bind everything together with an egg or two, and that’s it. A quick, healthy and perfect meal. Made even better by the fact that they heat up very easily for lunch the next day. Make a quick dipping sauce and you’re set. (Or, if you’re my father, just dunk it in Sriracha, the sauce for all seasons in his opinion, and call it a day.) I’m including the quick cilantro tahini sauce I made this time, but I’m sure there are other equally good options.
These patties are particularly great because they are a protein powerhouse – quinoa, eggs and feta all in every bite. Enough to put a little extra pep in your step. Isn’t it great when what’s good for you tastes so good?
Cauliflower and Quinoa Griddle Cakes
Recipe adapted from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel
Makes about 12
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
6 scallions, white and green parts
3/4 cup rolled oats
sea salt and pepper
1 1/3 cup sheeps milk feta
zest of one large or two small lemons
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
ghee, for cooking
Rinse the quinoa. Put the quinoa and 2 cups water in a medium pot. Bring it up to a boil, add a pinch of salt and pepper, turn it down to a simmer and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, turn off the heat, and set the lid ajar to rest.
In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it resembles cous cous.
In a large bowl, whisk the 4 eggs together well. Add the cauliflower to the eggs. Now add the scallions and oats to the food processor and pulse a few times to roughly chop. Add this mixture to the egg bowl, along with the cooked quinoa. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, the crumbled feta, lemon zest, chopped cilantro and stir to mix well. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Warm a tbsp of ghee in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Form the quinoa mixture into patties about 4” wide and 1” thick. Cook them for about 4 minutes on each side until just crisped, covering them after the flip to completely warm though. Serve warm with dipping sauce of your choice. (one option below)
Cilantro Tahini Dipping Sauce
In a small blender container, combine ¼ cup cilantro, ¼ cup chives, 2 tbsp well-stirred tahini, 1 tbsp lemon juice, a dash of white wine vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil and 1 chopped garlic clove. Salt and pepper to taste, and thin with a little water if desired.