Risotto Cakes & San Francisco Dreaming

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I was born in San Francisco, CA – I only lived there for two years but I like to think that I absorbed some of the culture and *~*California*~* while I was there. My parents tell the story that when I was first born, they were essentially on house arrest – no more quiet nights and more importantly, no adventures to their favorite restaurants. When I was finally old enough to be taken out, they put me in the baby carrier and went directly to Greens restaurant. SoOoO, Greens was the first restaurant I ever went to. Unfortunately not the first that I have ever eaten at. 

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Flash forward 20 years to when I was visiting SF with my dad. He took me to Greens and this meal will probably be top 5 for my entire life. You enter and there is a giant tree in the middle of the dining room which happens to be this huge open room overlooking the Marina. We did the Prix Fixe dinner and while each dish was impeccable, the one that has stayed with me through the years is the one my dad ordered – Coconut risotto griddle cakes. I still think about them way too much.

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Flash forward four more years to present day when I have a tupperware full of leftover risotto from last night’s dinner. I wish you could see the lightbulb going off in my head when reminded of the risotto cakes from so long ago. I flipped through my Greens cookbook and found a recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto Griddle Cakes. MY PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED <3.

An hour later I end up with risotto griddle cakes and decided to pair it with poached eggs because that is the only way to make something good, even better. My risotto cakes with arugula, poached eggs, and hollandaise made my world and I will most definitely make them again for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.

The Deats:

Arugula Risotto Cakes (Adapted from Everyday Greens Cookbook, Annie Somerville)

3 cups Risotto (See recipe for Arugula Risotto)
2 eggs (Separated whites and yolks)
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon chopped Chives
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt, Pepper, & Olive Oil

Place the risotto in a large bowl and combine with egg yolks, flour, chives, and parmesan. In a separate bowl (or stand mixer), whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whites into the risotto mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a lightly oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat and once the pan is hot, spoon the risotto mixture into the pan in 1/4 c cakes. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes on both sides until the cakes are golden brown and puffed. Let them cool on a paper towel while you make your hollandaise 🙂

Hollandaise (From Bon Appetit Magazine, Eric Ripert)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot water
Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper

Bring a pot of water to low simmer. Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Remove pan from heat; keep warm. Whisk egg yolks, lemon juice and hot water in a  metal bowl. Place bowl over the saucepan and do not allow bottom of bowl to touch the water. Add the melted butter 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly, until all of the butter is fully incorporated and the sauce is thick. Season to taste with cayenne, salt, and pepper.

Time to assemble the Bennys!

In a pot of boiling water, poach the desired number of eggs. While they are draining, begin assembling your benny.

The risotto cake goes on the bottom, followed by a small handful of arugula, then the poached egg, and finally the hollandaise. Leftover chives can be used as garnish on top (if desired). Eat up!

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