Award-winning chef and cookbook author, Joanne Weir, just released Wine Country CookingFriday night at Crushpad. It was a full house and a happy crowd thanks to a nice selection of local wines matching delicious bites from her new cookbook, including these addictive Rice "Olives." Similar to Italian arancini, these crispy little balls have a creamy center flecked with bits of briny olive, and they might be just the thing to pair with your bubbly when you ring in the New Year...
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, minced
1 cup arborio, vialone nano or carnaroli rice
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup olive paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 cup toasted fresh bread crumbs, finely ground
Mixture of vegetable and olive oil for frying
Heat the olive oil over medium low heat in a skillet. Add the onions and saute until soft, 7 minutes. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
Place the chicken broth and milk in a saucepan and heat just to a simmer. Immediately add to the rice with half of the olive paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook slowly until the rice is cooked, 20 minutes. Add the remaining olive paste and the Parmesan cheese. Cool completely.
Form the mixture into small olive-size balls using less than a tablespoon of mixture for each one. Place the flour in a bowl. Whisk the eggs and 1/2 cup water in another bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a third bowl. Season each of the three bowls with a pinch of salt. Roll the rice olives in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet until you are ready to cook them.
Heat 1-inch of oil in a deep pan to 375°F.
Fry the rice olives until golden on all sides, 60 to 90 seconds. Remove and serve immediately.
Makes 50 balls, approximately 1" diameter and serves 12
Recipe excerpted from Wine Country Cooking (Ten Speed Press).