Monday, August 19, 2013

A Fried Rice Ball Redemption

I am still not used to the idea of the Cleveland Plain Dealer only printing 3 days of the week.  It just does not seem right to drink my morning coffee while sitting with my iPad.  There is something much more satisfying about holding the newspaper right in your hands.

Last Wednesday Foodgoat noticed this article:

He had never heard of arancini, or Sicilian fried rice balls, before.  His grandfather is from Sicily, but Foodgoat doesn't remember him making them.

But he was inspired.  The next day, he and his capable kitchen assistant got to work.

He had no recipe - the Plain Dealer didn't include one - just a general idea that he would make them the way he makes breaded pork.  And that he would use up things that had accumulated in the fridge.  Hence, the leftover sushi rice (which I didn't use because it had been overly seasoned) was mixed with a shredded lone zucchini and stuffed with the last of the fresh mozzarella.  They were breaded with egg and flour and bread crumbs and parsley and fried in olive oil.

They also made a pasta sauce of a collection of various tomatoes, peppers, and some capicola.  Everything was topped with Parmesan, naturally.

The result was so, so delicious.  The breaded crust was crunchy, the rice (which didn't taste too vinegary anymore) and cheese insides were creamy and rich.  Together with the sauce, it was an unexpected and satisfying dinner.  

And as it turned out, arancini was a dish that Foodgoat's grandfather did in fact know about.  And he did try to make it.  He tried many times.  Many, many times.  And to his great frustration, it never worked.  The rice balls never held together - they always fell apart.  

It was not until years later that Foodgoat's mother figured out why - it was his use of Uncle Ben's rice, a long grain rice that advertises itself as not being sticky at all, that probably doomed the rice balls.  Since we used sticky shorter grain rice that was originally made for sushi, Foodgoat's rice balls had no problems with structural integrity.

I feel like that familial loose thread has now been nicely tied up.  

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