In my last few days in Paris before moving to London to study the patisserie program at Le Cordon Bleu, I wanted to do a whole lot of things. I wanted to to cook with Jennie for Friday Lunches – our weekly lunch pop-up where she cooks and I bake and we feed lots of people, I wanted to go visit the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay (before it’s too late to fall into the youth bracket for free museum visits), I wanted to go strawberry picking at the farm, I wanted to eat with my friends who I might not meet after the summer in London, and more importantly, I had to look for a home in Paris to come back to in the fall.
I also wanted to cook and bake a lot. Mostly because I’d miss having 3 ovens and my KitchenAid and partly because I had to clean out my fridge. One of the meals that Jennie and I cooked together was a baked pink salmon with a red onion and caper sauce that’s made me a caper convert and a wild rice salad from one of my favourite chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi.
Now, wild rice isn’t really rice, but a special species of grass that grows in shallow waters. Wild rice is usually cooked al dente and has a nutty taste. Wild rice isn’t something you’d normally eat in place of rice – it needs supporting flavours from the salad to taste good. And best of all, it’s healthy.
This wild rice salad recipe is pretty simple to put together – the only thing you need to do is plan a little ahead of time because the wild rice needs to be cooked for about 40 minutes. I am a fairly new pistachio convert (the things that living in France does to you…) so this salad was a treat. The other pistachio thing I newly discovered is the pistachio cake from Rose Bakery that I tried when I met my blog friend, Noelle, for breakfast. I still day dream about it. But back to the salad, you can make this recipe ahead of time and toss in the pistachios and arugula at the last minute so neither of them lose their crunch. Also, be generous with the olive oil, especially if you have a good one at hand.
250g wild rice
150g soft dried apricots, chopped into chunks
1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked
1 small bunch of rocket/arugula
3 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 mild red chilli, thinly sliced
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
Sea salt and (lots of) freshly ground black pepper
- Place the rice in a large pot and cover with water, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and cook for 30-40 minutes, depending on the variety, or until the rice is cooked to the bite. Drain.
- While the rice is cooking, roast the pistachio in a dry pan over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Coarsely chop them up.
- In a large bowl mix the rice, apricots and pistachios. Add the rest of the ingredients, toss well. Then zest the lemon over the salad and pour the juice over. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the pistachio and arugula just before serving.