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Border Grill's Quinoa Fritters at Home (with Aji Limon Aioli)

*Post by Angela.

After our trip to Border Grill the other evening, there was one thing over which we couldn’t stop obsessing: those incredible quinoa fritters. Thank goodness chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are too nice to keep the recipe a secret – it's posted on their website, and appeared in the June issue of Bon Appétit along with a recipe for ají amarillo aioli (we had aji limon paste left over from our ceviche last month, so we swapped that in). These fritters are amazing, so good we made them two days in a row. This might be my new favorite quinoa recipe.



Ingredients for the aioli:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons ají limon chile paste (or less, or some other chile paste – it’s your world)
  • 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

I made my own mayo with my man Alton Brown’s recipe, but obviously, that’s a step you can skip, as it can be a little fussy. But making mayo into aioli? Easiest thing in the world. I whisked the mayonnaise with the lime juice, chile paste, parsley, and salt, seasoned it to taste, then stashed it in the fridge to chill while I worked on the fritters.  



Ingredients for the fritters:
  • 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely crumbled Cotija cheese (use feta if you can’t find Cotija, but try to find it!)
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Vegetable/canola/grapeseed oil for frying

First up? Toasting the quinoa. I heated a dry pan over medium high heat and toasted the quinoa until golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan to prevent scorching.



I added about 1 1/3 cups of water to the pan and brought it to a boil, then covered the pan and reduced the heat to a simmer, cooking until the quinoa was tender and the all the water was absorbed, about 12-14 minutes. Once it was done, I turned off the heat and left it alone (covered) for 15 minutes, then uncovered it and let it cool all the way down.

Once the quinoa was cool, I stirred in the flour, Cotija, salt and pepper. I added the minced scallions, parsley, egg, and egg yolk and mixed it up with my hands until a sort of soft dough had formed. Using two spoons, I formed the mixture into oval shapes (called a quenelle).



Using a large skillet, I heated over medium-high heat enough oil for a depth of about 1/2-inch. Working in batches, I fried the quenelles until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side, then transferred them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. The quinoa quenelles are a little delicate to work with (before they are fried, they have a tendency to fall apart), so be gentle!



We dabbed the top of the fritters with the spicy aioli and devoured the entire plate within 10 minutes. Obviously, practically all fried things = wonderful tasting. But the quinoa adds so much texture and nutty flavor, and the Cotija cheese brings delicious saltiness. If you can’t make it to Border Grill for cocktails and eats, do yourself a favor and make these. You won’t be able to stop thinking about them.


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Reader Comments (2)

these look phenomenal

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdedc79

They are so, so good. Fritters are my new favorite thing, and these are top notch.

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

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