LOVE breakfast for dinner (not sweet breakfast stuff - I don't even like that for breakfast). Ever since I saw these quinoa cakes on Verses From My Kitchen, I have been letting them quietly simmer in the back of my brain until I could find the perfect time to make them.
Although his version looked totally delicious, I didn't want to have that much chive in there and I did want some pesto so I started to tinker and came up with this delicious little piece of work. I will make the rest and serve something else with them but for this meal, I stole his poached egg and added some crispy pancetta because to me, life is just better with a bit of bacon. I ate it with some salted watermelon and a salad and it was the perfect solo meal (The Kid and Shack were both away so it was just me and the dog (of course, I let her lick the plate)
Pesto Quinoa Cakes with Poached Egg
adapted from Verses From My Kitchen
1 1/4 cup cooked, cooled quinoa*
2 large eggs, beaten
pinch kosher salt
few grinds of black pepper
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 med ball boccaccini chopped up (just bigger than a golf ball)
2 tbls pesto
1/2 cup panko
a thin slice of pancetta
more salt and pepper
pinch finely chopped chives
* I cook quinoa exactly like I cook basmati rice - for every 1 cup of rinsed quinoa, 1 1/3 cup of water, pinch salt cooked in the rice cooker
Mix the quinoa, eggs, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the onion, boccaccini and garlic, give another stir and then throw in the panko and mix it one last time. I put it in the fridge while I got the rest of the stuff ready to firm up a bit (I was only cooking for myself so I made one cake and left the rest in the fridge to make again later on).
Cook the slice of pancetta over med heat until really crispy, remove and let sit on a piece of paper towel.
I took the pan off the heat to cool down a bit and then put it back on over medium low heat and then cooked my quinoa cake in that fat instead of adding olive oil.
Form a cake like you would a burger out of a baseball sized ball of the quinoa mixture (it was the size of a small burger). Cook the cake for about 7 or 8 minutes until nice and brown and crispy on the first side and then flip it and cook it for another 8 minutes or so on the second side.
When there is only a few minutes left of cooking time, bring a pot of water to a light simmer, add a cap of white vinegar to the water. Crack one egg into a tea cup. Using a wooden spoon, spin the water in the pot like a little cyclone and gently ease your egg into the eye of the storm. Set your timer to 3 minutes and let it continue to just barely simmer.
Just before the timer goes off, take your quinoa cake out of the pan and put onto the plate. Using a slotted spoon, remove your poached egg as soon as the time goes off and set the slotted spoon onto a piece of paper towel to drain off the excess water (I HATE watery poached eggs). Gently place the poached egg on top of your quinoa cake and sprinkle with the crispy pancetta, crunching it up as you go. Top the whole thing with another grind of black pepper, a pinch of kosher salt and the chopped chives.
I thought about making a sauce for this and if you really feel like you need a hollandaise sauce, go ahead but I find the rich, runny yolk makes a nice enough sauce on it's own.