Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creativity/Arancine Maki

On occasion, I amaze myself. Usually I don't see myself as very special or different from the rest of the world; I mean, yes, I am a kind and warm hearted person, but so are many others (thankfully). When I decided to write this blog I really hesitated, because like I say in the description, I'm still trying to figure out what differentiates me from others on many levels. First, as a person and secondly as a foodie, what makes my passion, skills and talents different from the next persons? Sometimes I am reading restaurant menus and I come across a creative dish and the whole thing seems so obvious, but then I started to doubt myself and wonder why, if it is so obvious, I wasn't able to come up with it myself.

But Like I said, on occasion I amaze myself and today I did so by making what I like to call Arancine Maki. Essentially, this is the classic sicilian dish Arancine, a fried, stuffed ball of risotto. Rather than shaping it into a ball and formed a log which I then friend and sliced in rounds like the Japanese Maki. Arancine means little oranges, this dish is called that way because of its shape and the orangey golden color it takes on when it is fried. Traditionally, you can either get an arancina rossa or arancina bianca depending on what they are filled with the rossa is filled with meat sauce and peas and the bianca with ham and mozzarella and some bechamel.

Because I was working on my creativity (and dealing with limited ingredients in my fridge) I used zucchini and goat cheese. The green zucchini emulated the seaweed used in traditional sushi and the goat cheese added a perfect tang to the sweet risotto and zucchini. Garnished with some reduced balsamic vinegar (soy sauce) it was the perfect balance of creamy, smooth and tart. I was so pround of this dish because not only was it delicious, but it was different, something that I had never seen before. And now that I made it, I can only think of a other variations, sweet, savory, traditional, untraditional. The funny thing about creativity is that the more you use it the more creative you feel. After this experiment, I just keep coming up with more and more great ideas (which I promise to eventually share), I am totally loving it!
Arancine Maki
makes 8-12 pieces

1 c. prepared saffron risotto (slightly overcooked, make sure it is thick and sticky)
2 tbsp. grated parmiggiano reggiano or grana padano
1 zucchini ribboned with a vegetable peeler
2 tbsp. soft goat cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
oil for frying
syrupy balsamic for garnish

1. Sprinkle a sushi roller with some of the bread crumbs and spread the risotto into a 7" x 7" square. Lay the zucchini strips overlapping on the rice square, make sure to trim any overhang.
2. Crumble goat cheese across the middle and roll up like sushi. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins.
3. Heat up oil for frying. Dip roll in egg and then in the bread crumbs. Fry until deeply golden.
4. Drain on paper towels and then slice in rounds. Serve hot.