Jan wants to go to a movie for Mother’s Day, Avengers: Age of Ultron. For me this means making dishes that I can prep ahead. To go with my steamed mussels, I decided that a rice salad would be nice. In days past I would probably have used white Jasmine rice, but with my diabetes I am going with whole grains.
Most rice that Americans eat have had their hulls polished off. This removes a lot of the fiber in the grain, but makes them cook up light and fluffy. Wild rice—which is actually a swamp grass seed, not a rice—is sold with its hull intact. This makes it very had to cook, because the hull must break before the inner seed can properly cook.
This problem sometimes leads to a sticky mess, as some grains overcook and turn to mush before others grains have even opened. Cook’s Illustrated found that by adding some baking soda the rice would cook more evenly. The baking soda helps break down the hull of the rice and makes it easier to cook this grain completely in a shorter time.
Karl’s Wild Rice Salad
½ cup wild rice
¼ tsp. baking soda
20 parsley stems, tied in a bundle
1 bay leaf
1 slice lemon peel (½ by 2 inches)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) vegetable or chicken broth
3 Tbs. olive oil
1½ Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
½ tsp. tarragon, rubbed
½ tsp. lemon zest
pinch celery seeds, lightly crushed
Pinch yellow mustard, dry
Pinch black pepper
Pinch Kosher salt
2 green onion, thinly sliced
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 red radishes, sliced
1. Put the rice and baking soda in a bowl and cover it with hot water by an inch. Let the bowl sit for 30 minutes.
Tip: This par-cooks the rice and partly breaks down the hulls, reducing the energy spent cooking the rice.
2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small lidded jar and shake well.
Tip: Let the dressing meld for at least 30 minutes, shaking the jar occasionally.
3. Drain and rinse the rice and put it in a medium pot or rice steamer.
4. Add the parsley stems, bay leaf, lemon peel, garlic and broth. Cook until the rice is tender, about 45-65 minutes.
Tip: Rice from different sources may take longer to cook.
5. Let the rice cool completely, covered.
Tip: You may put a towel between the pot and the lid to catch the condensation and keep it from dripping onto the rice and making it soggy.
6. Remove the parsley stems, bay leaf and lemon peel. Fluff the rice and put it in a salad bowl.
7. Add the chopped vegetables and dress the salad. Toss to coat all with the dressing.
8. Serve at room temperature.