Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brown Rice Cakes with Olives and Herbs

Rice cakes

I've written three different starts to this post but they all sound dumb. You guys know it's good for you to eat more whole grains, blah blah, I don't have to tell you that. Farro is delicious, quinoa is actually so big it's cool to make fun of it now, wheat berries are great if you remember to soak them, etc, etc.   But what I can tell you is that I've been really enjoying cooking out of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by the lovely Maria Speck. I made these rice cakes a couple of weeks ago (tip: always make twice as much rice as you need, then you'll have leftover rice. ta-da!), and last night I got to eat the Artichoke Rosemary Tart with Polenta Crust at a pot luck meeting. I look forward to making it myself. What's your favorite whole grain recipe?

Brown Rice Cakes with Olives and Herbs
adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck
makes 6-8 cakes

I think this recipe would scale brilliantly should you want to have more than six cakes, but this was enough for a nice light dinner for us (with a salad, as you see), and Adam took a couple for lunch the next day. I also think this would be totally awesome as a first course if you served just one over greens, maybe with a dollop of homemade garlic mayo? Mmm. 

about 2 cups leftover cooked brown rice
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, divided
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano
half a bunch of scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped, pitted black olives such as kalamata
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and oregano
2 eggs, lightly beaten
plenty of salt and pepper
a few tablespoons vegetable oil for frying

Mix together the rice, 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, cheese, scallions, herbs, olives and eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Level the mixture out in the bowl, then use a butter knife to divide it into 6 or 8 portions. I found that smaller cakes (no more than 2 - 2.5 inches in diameter) were easier to cook, but you can do as you see fit.

Spread the remaining bread crumbs in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Pack each portion into a small cake, then coat the cakes in the bread crumbs. Heat vegetable oil in a medium heavy skillet (cast iron is my favorite for this) until a breadcrumb dropped into the oil sizzles immediately. Working in batches so you don't crowd the pan, fry the cakes until firm and dark golden brown, 3-5 minutes per side or longer. Be sure to get some good color on them, don't wuss out as soon as they start to turn golden! The brown crispy bits are the best part. I like to use an offset spatula for flipping small things like this.

Cakes will hold on a rack on a sheet pan in a warm oven (200F) while you finish the remaining cakes.


  1. It looks beautiful on the photo! I like the herbs, they always go nice together with rice.

  2. I have never had a brown rice cake before, so this is something that I must try to make at home!