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Wild Rice and Ricotta Fritters with Scallions

These wild rice fritters are amazing. I had some leftover steamed wild rice last week from a recipe I was testing, and my husband suggested I make fritters with it. We talked about various options (adding some grated zucchini or sliced mushrooms, or incorporating shrimp), then landed on just the right combination to allow the sweetness of the rice to shine through: fresh, milky Ricotta, sliced scallions, and just enough egg and flour to bind everything.

The fritters will stick to your spatula when you try to compress them unless you brush the spatula with olive oil first. Compressing the fritter mixture is key to success, as it exposes more of the batter to the hot pan, making for extra crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside fritters. Don’t overcook the fritters or they will dry out: when they feel firm and are golden on both sides, they are ready.

Turn these fritters into a rich main course by making them larger and topping them with a dollop of fresh tomato sauce and a poached egg.

Note: If you’ve never steamed wild rice, it’s easy: rinse 1/2 cup of wild rice, then place in a heavy pot. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of cool water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Then lower the heat to simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook 45 minutes, or until the rice is swollen, some of the grains have unfurled, and the rice is tender to the bite. Let rest 10 minutes, covered, then enjoy as a side dish or in the recipe below. Some wild rice varieties require more water, others less; there is no way to know ahead but 3 cups water to 1 cup rice is usually enough. If the rice is still raw when all of the water has been absorbed, add more water and continue cooking until done; if there is leftover water in the pot when the rice is ready, drain off the excess water.

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer

  • 1 and 1/3 cups cooked wild rice, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup whole-milk Ricotta
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the spatula

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In a bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the egg, scallions, Ricotta, salt pepper, and flour. Mix thoroughly. If the wild rice was not salted during cooking, add more salt to compensate; about 1/4 teaspoon more should do the trick.

Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. After 1 minute, spoon in half of the egg mixture in small mounds, making 4 fritters. Flatten with a spatula (I find it easier if you brush the spatula with olive oil to prevent sticking) and brush the tops with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is also golden and the fritters are set. Remove to a plate.

Repeat with the remaining wild rice mixture and olive oil. Serve hot.

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