Brown Rice Salad with Fresh Currants
I grew up in a Silver Palate house. Anyone who was born before 1990, knows the cookbook I’m talking about. In fact, those of you born after 1990 probably have heard of it too. Whether or not they know it, anyone interested in food today probably has felt the impact that Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins made in 1979 with their brilliantly innovative ideas. Back in the eighties my mom, a talented and fearless home cook, cooked the pages of The Silver Palate, The Silver Palate Good Times and later the New Basics. She was also a fan of Sara Leah Chase, Craig Claiborne, the Joy of Cooking and Gourmet magazine. She was willing to try anything, and thankfully my Dad, sister and I were willing and happy to eat anything she made.
There are certain recipes and even flavor combinations I will always associate with the Silver Palate. Like their Technicolor Bean Salad, Tarragon Chicken Salad, Chicken Marbella and Nutted Wild Rice. Heck, whenever I taste dill I think of the Silver Palate.
During the summer months my mom always stocked the fridge with cold “salads” like Tabbouleh with tons of parsley or zesty Moroccan Carrots from Sarah Leah Chase’s Open House Cookbook. At this time of year, I am particularly tempted to revisit these recipes of my childhood.
As a mom myself now, I get where she was coming from. Not only are these recipes delicious, but they make summer life easy. When our schedules get packed and the temperature rises, I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It is so nice to open up the fridge and just grab a bowl of some sort of healthy full-flavored salad for a quick meal or snack.
When I saw these fresh currants at the market yesterday I immediately thought they’d be perfect for tossing into a healthy whole-grain rice salad. Fresh currants are really surprising. They’re tart and a little bitter with notes of coffee and grapefruit. They are just right for livening up whole grains with a little zing. Nutrition Bonus: Currants are bursting with Vitamin C. One serving of this salad will give you half of your day’s requirement.
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup
Serve with: grilled pork chops or over arugula.
- 4 ½ cups water
- 1 cup long grain brown rice, such as jasmine or basmati
- ½ cup wild rice
- ¼ cup extra- virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh black currants
- ¾ cup chopped scallions, about ½ bunch
- ¾ cup crumbled feta
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add brown rice and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low or medium-low. (This depends on your stove, you just want to make sure you are maintaining a gentle simmer. There will be steam busting out from under the lid. Ever so lightly rattling it.) Cook undisturbed until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring the remaining 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add wild rice and return to a simmer, reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook (uncovered) until some of the grains start to burst, and the rice is just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain.
- Whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the cooked brown rice and wild rice. Stir in the currants, scallions and feta. Add pepper to taste. Chill completely or serve warm.