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Quinoa Fritters with Aji Amarillo Aioli



– 6 cups white or black quinoa, rinsed and drained well – 12 cups water – 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour – 3 3/4 cups grated Real California Cotija cheese, divided – 2 1/2 tablespoons salt – Freshly ground black pepper – 3 cups finely chopped green onions, white and light green parts only – 2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley – 9 eggs – 9 egg yolks – Grapeseed or canola oil for frying – 6 cups pico de gallo salsa Aji Amarillo Aioli: – 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise – 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice – 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley – 3/4 teaspoon salt – 3-4 tablespoons aji amarillo chile paste
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In a dry sauté pan over high heat, toast quinoa for about 5 minutes, shaking and stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Transfer to a large saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, about 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cool. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, flour, 2 1/4 cups cheese, salt and pepper. Add onions, parsley, eggs and yolks. Stir thoroughly with a spoon until mixture has the consistency of soft dough. Refrigerate, covered. (Yield: 18 cups)

For each serving, to order, heat 1/2 inch oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Using two soup spoons, press 1/4 cup batter into an egg-shaped fritter and gently slide into the hot oil (or use a small ice cream scoop). Repeat to make a total of 3 fritters. Fry for about 1 minute or until bottoms are golden brown. Turn and fry for about 1 minute on the second side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Arrange fritters on a plate and top each with 1 teaspoon aji amarillo aioli. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cheese and serve 1/4 cup salsa alongside.

To make aji amarillo aioli, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, parsley and salt. Add chile paste to taste. (Yield: 1 1/2 cups)

Recipe courtesy of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Border Grill (Santa Monica, CA)