Inspired by my friend Kristina Vanni, owner of Cooking Contest Central, I've been trying to enter more recipe contests lately. Kristina often points out that hundreds of food companies and commodity boards run recipe contests each year, with substantial sums of money and other prizes up for grabs. Food bloggers create recipes all the time - why not do it for a shot at the gold?
The thing is, there's a knack to winning recipe contests. That's why the members of Cooking Contest Central, a longstanding online community for recipe contest participants, consistently beat the pants off the rest of the field. Look at the winners of just about any recipe contest and you'll see at least one CCC member. The same names come up over and over.
What does it take to win a recipe contest? An eye for trendy ingredients and flavor combinations. Clever, highly visible use of whatever ingredient(s) or product(s) are sponsoring the contest. If it's a contest with history, an understanding of what kinds of dishes have won in years past. And a way with recipe names. I'm still learning on all these fronts. I've entered more contests this year than any other, but my track record hasn't been great.
Which is why when I entered the Alter Eco Foods quinoa recipe contest last month, I wasn't expecting to place. And yet, somehow, I did! My Salmon Quinoa Cakes with Caper Dill Sauce made the semi-finals. True to form, veteran CCC member Merry Graham took the grand prize for her quinoa tacos. But that's okay - Merry will enjoy her weekend in Napa Valley, and I'll be very happy with my year's supply of Alter Eco quinoa.
You can make these salmon cakes with leftover cooked salmon or canned salmon. Either way, no one will turn down these crispy pan-fried fish cakes with crunchy, nutty quinoa and a creamy dill sauce with tangy capers.
Salmon quinoa cakes with dill caper sauce
Crispy pan-fried fish cakes made with leftover cooked salmon and quinoa, then dressed with a creamy dill sauce.
- 2 cups cooked salmon (fresh or canned)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cooked Alter Eco quinoa
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons mustard
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon, zest and juice, divided
- olive oil, for frying
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup capers
- 2 Tablespoons brine from capers
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, flake the salmon with a fork. Mix together the salmon, eggs, quinoa, green onions, parsley, mustard, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, salt, and half of lemon juice.Form into 8 patties, using about 1/3 cup of the mixture per patty. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and pan-fry patties until golden brown on both sides.While salmon quinoa cakes are frying, make the sauce: Mix together remaining mayonnaise, remaining lemon juice, lemon zest, Greek yogurt, capers, caper brine, dill, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve salmon quinoa cakes hot with sauce pooled over.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings