Feed a few, feed a lot. After a small family dinner of roast chicken and a medley of multi-colored and wild rice, I was inspired to make a wild rice salad for a family luncheon for 18 a few days later. Our local health food store sells beautiful wild rice – which is not rice at all but a grain – hand harvested by the White Indian tribe and sold to benefit their community. It is mixed with long grain white rice and is my rice medley of choice. However, they were sold out and I reverted to another good option from Lundberg. I rarely find that there’s enough wild rice in those mixes so I separately cooked a batch of plain wild rice.
Combined with toasted almonds, dried currants and cherries and tossed with red wine vinaigrette, the salad was tasty but a little flat. So I added a little sherry vinegar for spark, walnut oil to complement the nuttiness of the wild rice, a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, and chopped pickled hot peppers. Perfect. This salad keeps well and travels well, so is a welcome addition to a holiday buffet a few hundred miles away.
Wild Rice Salad (for 6)
1 c wild rice and whole grain rice medley (e.g., Lundberg)
1/3 c wild rice
2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
2 tbsp dried sweet cherries, halved
1 tbsp dried currants
1 tbsp chopped pickled hot peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sherry vinegar
A few drops of Tabasco sauce or other red hot sauce
Place the rice medley and 3 times the amount of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir, turn the heat to low, cover the pan and let the rice simmer for about 50 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Meanwhile, cook the wild rice the same way. (You could probably combine them but I didn’t.) When the rice mix and wild rice are cooked, remove to a wide bowl to cool, sprinkling them immediately with a little olive oil, salt and a few splashes of red wine vinegar. This keeps the rice from sticking together and allows flavors to be absorbed. You should be liberal with the salt since the salad will be served at room temperature. You can make this ahead to this point.
When ready to serve, add the almonds, dried fruit and hot peppers. Combine the oils and vinegars and dress the salad lightly. Adjust the seasonings, adding a little Tabasco sauce and a little more sherry vinegar if needed.