Thursday, August 21, 2014

Red rice salad

I must admit I don’t get to the Sunday markets as often as I’d like, maybe it’s living all the way in the back end of Karori, or just pure and simple laziness, but quite often best laid plans end up being a coffee and eggs on the couch, or if it’s a sunny day, the couch, who am I kidding! When I do manage to drag myself and better half out of the house at a halfway decent hour to hit the markets I always vow I must come every week and proclaim about how much we’re missing out on, which is completely and utterly true. Well we managed it last Sunday, and I managed to latch on to possibly one of my favourite greens, beet tops, unfortunately almost never seen on a supermarket vegetable shelf, well not in good nick anyway. Sautéed and mixed with ricotta and hazelnuts, they make a great ravioli filling, or as below a great addition to a salad.

Red Rice Salad
1 cup red rice
½ cup hazelnuts
capers (in salt)
1 fennel bulb
1 red onion
1 large purple carrot
1 celery stalk
1 large bunch of beet greens
1 clove of garlic
Handful of parsley and celery greens

Place the rice in a pot and pour in 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, put on a lid, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Strain and toss in some good oil (olive or hazelnut), season with a salt, mustard and cider vinegar. I like to dress the rice now so I know the base is well seasoned and will only need tweaking at the end.

Get a pan on a medium high heat, slice up the beet greens, crush the garlic. Heat a dash of oil in the pan, sauté the garlic but don’t brown, toss in the beet greens and cover. Cook until tender. Toss the greens through the rice.

The rest is pretty straight forward. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and toast in a dry pan. Slice and dice the fennel, onion and celery. Soak the capers. Either grate or use a mandolin on the carrot. Finely chop the parsley and celery greens.

Toss all the ingredients together, taste and season with salt (smoked salt is really good with these earthy flavours), adjust the acid with some cider vinegar, and a little heat doesn’t go amiss add a dash of hot sauce if you like.

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