Monday, July 16, 2012

Rice Two Ways

The reasons I love contributor Jim Dixon's recipes are that they're invariably easy, they use seasonal (and even leftover) ingredients and he's not dogmatic in his approach. In this post he takes on that most seventies of grains, brown rice. And, as he mentions, you should feel free to substitute good quality brown rice for the Kokuho.

I love the brown rice I get from Koda Farms. I never really liked brown rice before I started eating Koda’s Kokuho Rose heirloom varietal, but to be fair, that other stuff was probably cooked poorly. The Koda rice requires some effort (soak, cook, rest, fluff, rest; I use a rice cooker, and the whole process takes more than an hour) to taste good, and maybe if all that brown rice I didn’t like had been given the same attention it would’ve been better.

I don’t mind taking the time to make the Koda rice, but lately I’ve tried using the Italian approach: cook it like pasta. Add the rice (without soaking) to a pot of well-salted boiling water, keep it boiling for 30 minutes, drain, return to the pot and let it sit, covered, for 15 minutes. The rice emerges fluffy and a little less sticky than the rice cooker version.

Sometimes I want that, like when I’m serving the rice alongside something hot and savory. But the Italian method gives me the perfect rice for a composed salad like this.

Brown Rice, Corn, & Mint Salad

The “composition” of most of the salads I make depends on what kind of leftovers I have. In this case, a few ears of roasted corn from a few nights earlier. I sliced the kernels off the cob while a chopped onion soaked in a bowl of Katz Late Harvest Zinfandel vinegar. I combined all that with a handful of mint from the garden, chopped roughly, and a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil. A good sprinkle of flor de sal and it was ready.

You don’t need leftover corn to make rice salad. Just take a look in the refrigerator, add something from the garden or market, and use plenty of good olive oil and vinegar. But have some rice ready to go, too.

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