Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Rice Guy

You know how seasoned home cooks have a "fish guy," or "meat guy" that they trust to give them quality stuff all the time? Well, we have a rice guy. He runs Rube's Rice -- the island of rice and grains and legumes on the bottom floor of St. Lawrence Market. He is our supplier of Nishiki and lentilles du Puy, is knowledgeable about cavena nuda and was the first to introduce me to jade pearl rice.  

Today, we felt like splurging, so we picked up a bag of Canadian-grown wild rice. As we were paying, he handed us a slip of paper with a recipe for wild rice salad on it and told us to give it a try. Off we went to the bulk store next door to pick up the rest of the ingredients, and I'm so glad we did.

This salad tastes fresh and fragrant like spring, and yet is made from ingredients that you could easily find in the winter. It's got a mild sweet dressing of orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, a sweet richness from pecans and golden raisins, a savoury sharpness from finely chopped shallot, and a nice spring freshness from a handful of fresh mint -- all wonderful flavours that don't overpower the herbal nuttiness of the wild rice.  When I make it again, I might add a splash of red wine vinegar to give the dressing add bit more zing, and perhaps a few chunks of orange segments to add a burst of juiciness.

Want more reason to make this salad? It's vegan, gluten-free and very filling. Wild rice is a beautiful backdrop for a switch-up in fruits and nuts -- walnuts or slivered almonds, dried cranberries or cherries, a sprinkling of pomegranate arils .. It probably tastes better the following day -- meaning that you could make a big batch, have some with your dinner and have leftovers that will taste even better to pack for lunch. Do I need to go on?

Thank-you Rice Guy!

Wild Rice Salad
adapted from the Rice Guy :)

2/3 cup of wild rice
2.5 cups of water

1/4 cup of chopped pecans
1/4 cup of golden raisins
zest and juice of half an orange
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of minced shallot
a small handful of mint, torn or chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse the wild rice well. Place it in a pot with water. Bring to boil, then cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for 40 - 45 minutes. Check it at the 30 minute mark to see if you need to add more water. Drain and place in a large bowl.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the rice and toss well. Let it sit for 2 hours (if you can wait! We couldn't!) or overnight.

3. Enjoy!

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