We are finally getting a break from the hot weather with thundershowers during the night and temperatures down in the 70’s…a little humid but so much more comfortable than the 100 degrees we hit day before yesterday. One of the positives of not wanting to turn on the oven is finding several new salad recipes that are great additions to summer menus. This recipe for red rice and quinoa salad is from Otam Ottolenghi’s Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. The more I read about this writer and chef the more I want to know about him. His cooking style is rooted in his Middle Eastern upbringing and his recipes are both bold and complex with wonderful combinations of flavors and textures. This salad is hearty enough to be a stand alone entree and it pairs beautifully with grilled poultry and meats.
Red rice is available at some Asian markets, and if you aren’t familiar with it I urge you to try it. It has a bright red color and nutty flavor that is very similar to wild rice. Cook the rice and quinoa ahead and when they have cooled combine all ingredients. The flavors are subtle in this salad and the addition of freshly ground black pepper is just what it needs. I loved the sweetness of the dried apricots and next time will add a garnish of fresh orange segments.
TO COOK RED RICE: Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in a medium size saute pan. When hot add 1 cup red rice. Fry, stirring, until rice is lightly browned and starting to pop like popcorn. Add 2 cups hot water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook, without stirring, for 30-35 minutes or until tender. Remove covered pan from heat and let rest for 15 minutes. Drain rice in a fine mesh strainer. Let cool.
I thought the flavors of this salad were better the second day so don’t hesitate to make it ahead. Everything holds up well so texture isn’t sacrificed if you make it early. Give it an extra splash of orange juice if you think it needs it. Arugula is called for but I didn’t have any and use frizee instead. The slight bitterness of it went well with the ingredients.
I have been slowly getting rid of many of my cookbooks but one by Otam Ottolinghi will surely be on my Christmas list this year.
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1 cup red rice, cooked and cooled
- 1 medium white onion, sliced
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- grated zest and juice of one orange
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 2 handfuls of arugula (I used frizee)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, until lightly colored. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly and then chop roughly. Set aside.
- Saute the white onion in 4 tablespoons of the olive oil until golden brown. Let cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, quinoa, cookied onion and the remaining oil. Add all the rest of the ingredients, the taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve at room temperature.