I am making broiled salmon for a weekday dinner and I usually make some kind of rice dish to go with it. Recently, I learned a new—to me—way of preparing basmati rice. The rice is par-boiled in a lot of water, drained, and then steamed with any additional ingredients. One of the fondly remembered dishes of my mother Claudia was green rice. Today, I decided to expand on my mother’s recipe by adding spinach—al la Florentine.
Karl’s Rice Florentine
1 cup basmati rice
1 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbs. butter or olive oil
2 large green onions, sliced, white and green parts kept separate
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. thyme
½ tsp. black pepper, cracked
4-6 oz. baby spinach, shredded
¼ cup parsley, minced
1. Add the rice and 3-4 cups of water to a medium pot over a medium high heat.
2. Stir in the salt and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Tip: At this point, you are not trying to cook the rice completely.
3. Drain the rice into a large sieve and set it aside.
4. Melt the butter in the same pot.
Note: You do not have to clean the pot, but I usually do.
5. Sauté the white parts onion and celery until translucent, about five minutes.
6. Add the garlic, thyme, and pepper.
7. Continue sautéing for another one minutes, until fragrant.
8. Stir in the spinach and most of the parsley, sautéing for another minute to wilt the spinach.
Tip: Save a bit of the parsley for a garnish.Note: Stack several spinach leaves and slice them into ⅛ inch wide strips.
9. Return the rice to the pot and fold the contents—with a spatula—to blend the rice and greens well.
10. Use the spatula to pull the rice away from the sides of the pot—to form a cone in the center of the pot.
11. Add ¼ cup of water around the edges of the rice.
12. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
Tip: If you wish, you may wrap the pot lid with a kitchen towel. This gives you a better seal on the pot and prevents the condensed moisture from dripping back onto your rice.
Note: Tuck the corners of the towel into the opening in the handle to keep them away from the heat. If you are using a lid with a knob handle use a rubber band on the corners of the towel.
13. Gently fluff the rice and transfer to rice to a serving bowl.
Note: Depending on the temperature of your burner, you will end up with crispy rice stuck to the bottom of your pot. This scorched rice is the good stuff, scrap it out of the pot and use it as a garnish on top of your rice.
14. Garnish the rice with the remaining parsley and serve warm.