Why It Works
- Leftover risotto becomes firm and dense when chilled, easy to fry up into a cake.
- A slope-sided pan and a pair of buttered plates make the cake easy to flip.
- Swirling the cake in melted butter ensures even browning.
- The combination of salty, sweet, spicy, and acidic keeps this dish balanced and flavorful.
Leftover corn risotto fried up into a crispy cake is the perfect canvas for streaks of chipotle mayo, salty curds of Cotija cheese, bright cilantro, and fresh lime. The kernels of corn become caramelized in the pan, adding smoky notes to balance their natural sweetness, while the lime cuts through the richness for a dish that conquers all your cravings.
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (1 1/2 ounces; 45g)
- 1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (35g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (475g) leftover corn risotto, fully chilled in the refrigerator
- 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese (1 ounce; 30g)
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and chipotle. Add mixture to a piping bag, if desired, for fancier presentation.
Lightly grease 2 flat 10- or 11-inch plates. (You can use any oil you have on hand for this, or even some extra butter.) In a well-seasoned 10-inch carbon steel skillet or 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over high heat until foaming. Add risotto and, using a spatula, pat it down to form a round pancake shape.
Continue cooking over high heat, patting the top and sides to form a compact, pancake-like round and swirling to keep the pancake moving and to avoid hot spots (it should not stick to the pan), until it is very well browned on the first side. (You can tell it's ready when you see that it's browned around the edges.) If the pancake comes apart as you swirl and jiggle it, simply use the spatula to press it back together.
Carefully slide the pancake out onto one of the prepared plates, then invert the other prepared plate on top of it. In one very quick motion, flip the plates, then lift off the top plate. Very carefully slide the pancake back into the skillet, using the spatula to patch up any spots that were damaged during the flip. Continue cooking, swirling, jiggling, and patting with the spatula, until pancake is well browned on the second side.
Carefully slide the pancake out onto a warmed serving plate. Top with chipotle mayo, Cotija or feta cheese, cilantro, and cayenne. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve right away.