Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wild Rice Risotto Cakes

Makes about 12 cakes

 Wild Rice Risotto Cakes
1 quart (4 cups) water
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup wild rice
1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
3-4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock, hot
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup finely-grated parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
about 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for pan-frying
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine 1 quart water and 1 tsp salt in a medium-sized saucepot.   Bring to a boil over high heat, then add the wild rice.  Simmer, covered, and stirring occasionally, 60 minutes. Drain and reserve the wild rice.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, until the butter is melted.  Add chopped yellow onion and the sliced green onions (white parts only).  Season with a good pinch of salt and a few good grinds of pepper.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the chopped thyme and minced garlic, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes more.  
Add the Arborio rice and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.  Stir in about 1/2 cup of heated stock, and simmer, stirring frequently, until the stock is absorbed.  Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently as it simmers, and letting each cup be absorbed before adding another, until the rice is tender but still just a bit al dente, about 20-25 minutes.  (You may not need all the stock.) Stir in the sherry, and simmer until absorbed.  Remove the risotto from the heat, add the grated parmesan, and stir vigorously to combine.  Taste the risotto, and season as needed with salt and pepper
Add the cooked wild rice, the sliced green onions (the green parts now), and the chopped parsley to the risotto.  Using a rubber spatula, fold everything together until well combined.  Allow the mixture to cool, about 15 minutes, then stir in the egg yolks, mixing thoroughly with the rubber spatula.  Chill the risotto in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours, and up to 1 day. 
Heat about 2 Tbl olive oil in a large non-stick sauté pan until very hot, but not smoking.  (You can test the heat of the pan by dropping just a small bit of batter into the oil.  You’re hoping for a gentle sizzle.  No sizzle at all means the pan and oil aren’t hot enough yet, so give it a bit more time.  If the bit of batter burns right away, the pan is too hot, so lower the heat.)  Place four 1/4-cup sized scoops of rice batter into the pan one at a time, using your hands to flatten them into disk shapes (about 3-inches wide and 1/2-inch thick) just before lowering them into the pan.  Cook until the cakes are golden brown on the bottom side and they lift easily from the pan with a metal spatula, about 5 minutes. (Resist the urge to touch these before they’re done.  Don’t force them up from the pan with the spatula, or you’ll have a mess.  They’ll life easily when they’re ready.)  Lower the heat if the cakes are browning too quickly.  Carefully flip the cakes over using a metal spatula, and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the cakes to wire rack placed over a baking pan.  Repeat these steps to pan-fry the rest of the cakes, wiping the sauté pan clean with paper towels between batches, and adding more oil as needed.  This pan-frying step can be done ahead of time, by about eight hours.  Keep the cakes refrigerated and covered with plastic.  Warm to room temperature before continuing.
At dinner time:  Preheat the oven to 450ᵒF.  Place the pan of rice cakes into the oven and bake until hot and sizzling, about 7-8 minutes.  Serve hot.