rice cakes with scallops
photo by Jennifer Johnson
Served with a morsel of scallop and a bit of Greek yogurt, these bite-sized cakes are a satisfying blend of salty and creamy. They can also be made into larger cakes for a heartier meal. In the summer, we love to add about half-cup fresh corn kernels into the rice mixture.
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice from 1 lemon, divided
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups hot water (or chicken or vegetable stock, or a combination)
2 scallions, white and light green parts, minced
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, minced, plus extra for garnish
Zest from 1 lemon
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra as needed
8 ounces sea scallops, sliced in half crosswise
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, combine yogurt and juice from 1/2 lemon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Place rice in a saucepan and slightly toast over medium-low heat for about 1 minute. Add 1 cup water (or stock), and cook until liquid is just about absorbed into rice. Add another 1 cup water/stock and cook until just about absorbed. Repeat with remaining water/stock until rice is creamy and cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool completely. Once rice has cooled, stir in scallions, parsley, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper.
Using a tablespoon or your hands, form rice into balls and gently press into slightly flattened cakes. Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill about 30 minutes. Rinse off tablespoon (or your hands) with water as you work, as rice will be sticky.
Preheat oven to 200ºF.
In a nonstick pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Working in batches, cook rice cakes until golden and crisp on bottom, 3-5 minutes. Gently flip cakes, and continue to cook another 3 minutes or until golden brown on other side. Add more butter as needed. Place cakes on a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven while you finish with remaining cakes.
Remove any rough, crescent-shaped muscle from outside of scallops and discard. Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
In a large nonstick pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add scallops, seasoned side down, and cook until golden brown on one side, 2-3 minutes. Turn scallops and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and remaining juice from 1/2 lemon and cook another 1-2 minutes, spooning butter over scallops.
To serve, add a small dollop of yogurt mixture onto each rice cake, top with a scallop, and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
Makes approximately 18 cakes.
cook’s note: You can also mince the scallops and add them to the rice mixture, to combine everything together into the cakes. To do so, you’ll also need to add 1 large beaten egg along with about 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs (or more as needed) until mixture holds together completely. Cook as noted above for rice cakes.