The Best Meal to Make With Leftovers

In her new cookbook, Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen presents a solution to a perennial takeout conundrum: so much leftover rice. “I come from a long line of frugal people and cannot just throw it away,” she says. “My answer to almost all of life’s problems (or at least life’s excess-ingredient problems) is to make fritter-like pancakes. They’re easy, portable, kid-friendly and they offer a good balance of vegetables and indulgence.” So, to continue our month of weeknight dinners, we’re happy to share her recipe…

Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Fritters
By Deb Perelman, author of Smitten Kitchen Every Day

Even unbattered, cooked rice, vegetables, cheese and eggs together make a spectacular-enough pancake, so I wish I’d made this recipe much sooner. It’s delicious not only for predictable reasons (cheese) but because of this miraculous thing that rice does when it hits a well-oiled frying pan, which is to puff ever so slightly and crisp. These are so, so good. I want this to be your new back-pocket recipe.

Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Fritters
Serves 4, or more as a snack or side

You’ll need:

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups leftover rice or wild-rice blend, cooked
1 cup finely chopped parcooked broccoli florets
2 scallions, finely chopped
3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar
Butter and olive oil, for frying

Using a fork, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper in a bowl until combined. Add the rice, broccoli, scallions and cheddar. Stir to combine.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Once it’s hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a pat of butter; let them warm. Using a soup spoon, scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rice mixture into the pan, and lightly press the top so it flattens to about 1/2‑inch thickness. Here’s the essential bit: keep the heat low enough so that it takes a few minutes for the undersides to brown; if you move a fritter sooner, it will fall apart easily. But once the fritters are brown, the eggs have cooked and the cheese has melted, it’s much easier to flip and repeat on the other side. Make the rest of the fritters with the remaining rice mixture, giving it an occasional stir.

Thanks so much, Deb! Your new cookbook is absolutely wonderful.

Also, Joanna will be interviewing Deb in person this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Books Are Magic in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. We would LOVE to meet you and hang out. Here are the details, if you’re interested. xo

P.S. A bodega challenge with Smitten Kitchen, and the best egg sandwich you’ll ever have.

(Recipe excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman. Copyright © 2017. Photo by Deb Perelman. Published by Knopf. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)