Brown-Rice Cakes with Sauteed Fennel, Broccoli Rabe, and Ricotta
Crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle, these rice cakes are simpler than they appear. Just mix brown rice with ground fennel seeds and egg whites, and panfry.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1 head fennel (about 1 pound with fronds), core trimmed, and stems cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup water, divided
- 1 pound bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
- 4 large egg whites
- 3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice (from about 1 1/4 cups uncooked)
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add fennel, and reduce heat to medium. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing once, until golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Clear a small space in pan, and add 1/2 teaspoon oil and the garlic. Saute, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and beginning to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until fennel is tender, about 2 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high; add remaining water, the broccoli rabe, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, and cook, stirring once, until greens are tender, about 3 minutes more. Uncover pan, and let sit.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in another large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until very foamy and starting to turn white but not stiff. Stir in rice, fennel seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drop 4 separate spoonfuls (about half the batter) into pan, and spread each into a 3-inch round. Cook until golden brown, crisp, and set, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip, and cook 1 minute. Keep cakes in a warm oven if desired. Wipe out pan, and repeat process with remaining oil and batter.
Divide cakes and vegetables among 4 plates. Top with ricotta, drizzle with oil, season with pepper, and scatter with basil.