Monday, March 30, 2009

128. Crunchy Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad (p. 150)

I've never thought that there was anything strange about pasta salad. So why would I even think for a second that there's anything odd about rice salad. Rice salad? You've never heard of it either? Well, now that I've made this recipe, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of salad possibilities.

The first thing I did to make this salad was to make the rice. The Book calls for short grain brown rice. I've never used this kind of rice before. These short, chubby grains of brown rice are about the size and shape of the Arborio rice that you'd use for risotto, but they're a lot less starchy. You cook it more like pasta than rice, boiling it in lots of salted water and draining it in a colander and rinsing it with cold water when it's done cooking.

While the rice was cooking, I chopped up some carrots, celery, and bell peppers into quarter-inch dice. This recipe is definitely good practice for your knife skills. The Book calls for red bell peppers, but I used red, yellow and orange to give the salad more color. I blanched these vegetables in boiling water for one minute, drained them in a colander and then plunged the colander into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Next, I made the dressing. I whisked together some lemon juice, chicken broth, country-style whole grain mustard, olive oil, and some salt and pepper. I tossed the dressing with some baby arugula, the blanched vegetables, some chopped scallions, and the cool rice.

This salad was beautiful and delicious. It looked like a party on a plate ... like brightly colored confetti. The textures were excellent. The crunchy vegetables, crisp arugula and tender rice all combined together very well. The dressing was light, bright and uncomplicated. The Book says that this salad can be eaten as a main course. I served this salad with my Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze, and it was a nice match. I think that this salad would be a welcome addition to a summer picnic, too.

Date Cooked: March 21, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: B+

1 comment:

Liz C said...

I've been in a salad rut. This sounds like a great way to bust out.