My interpretation of the 3-ingredient challenge was not quite on the mark with Pepin’s scallops on spinach with walnut sauce. Please consider this as a redo for the current IHCC mystery box challenge. This recipe should do it: Fried rice cakes with creamed leeks and egg from Totam Ottolenghi. (The recipe, shown below, is listed on his website here.) The three ingredients that’ve met the challenge are: rice, gruyere, tarragon and — an extra one to boot, capers.
This recipe is perfect when you have leftover rice, for a light meal or a side dish anytime of the day. Gruyere adds savoriness to the rice cakes without overpowering the other ingredients. Leeks are more subtle and refined than onion, linked with gentle, even genteel cooking, such as chilled vichysoisse in a fine china bowl of yesteryear. On the other hand, leeks are a little more demanding to work with. They collect grit between its layers as it grows. No other vegetable needs the attentive cleaning in the sink. Opening and discarding the outer layers, slitting the leek down its length like a fan and swishing it around under the tap can be therapeutic at times. Other times, I buy trimmed leeks from Trader Joe’s. Steamed and softened in butter at moderate to low heat, their flesh should remain pearlescent. A leek scorched is a leek ruined. Browned leeks do not taste right, so be gentle. Leeks are very pleasing, especially with eggs. Creamed leeks make a fine dish, taking on a welcoming rustic note. They are my favorite bite of the dish.
Frying and flipping little rounds of rice patties can be tricky. I added more eggs so that they held together a little better. Or use rice that’s more moist than dry. Getting the eggs right is a whole story in itself. I’ll leave that later for a featured egg dish. Together with rice cakes and creamed leeks, the egg brought it all home and gave the dish structure. The runny yolk a little theatric.