After a couple of days eating dinner out and about, Cindy and I took advantage of a free Saturday evening to cook up something vaguely healthy at home. We headed to yet another Ottolenghi salad, this rice salad with nuts and sour cherries.
We ended up with a simpler version of the recipe (not least because pantry moths had discovered and colonised our wild rice). Typical of Ottolenghi, this is loaded up with ingredients and steps (even our simplified version used two saucepans plus a frying pan). Importantly, it's also loaded up with flavours - with the cherries in particular providing little bursts of sweetness amongst the more savoury grains and nuts. It's a lot of work - I think I spent the best part of an hour and a half in the kitchen (a lot which was just lazy waiting to be fair). And I'm not sure the results quite measure up to some of our regular Ottolenghi salads, but it was just the kind of fresh, healthy meal we were looking for.
Rice salad with nuts & cherries
(adapted from this Ottolenghi recipe)
270g basmati rice
100mL olive oil
70g pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
60mL sunflower oil
1 cup mixed green leaves
80g dried cherries
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Place the basmati rice in a medium saucepan, stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil and half a teaspoon salt. Pour 400mL boiling water over it, cover and cook on very low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, take the lid off, lay a teatowel over the saucepan and replace the lid. After 10 minutes take off the lid and teatowel and allow the rice to cool completely.
Bring water to the boil in a small saucepan and add quinoa, cook for 9 minutes and then drain.
Roughly chop the almonds. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frypan with a pinch of salt. Add the almonds and pine nuts, and cook gently until the pine nuts are golden, 3-4 minutes. Set the nuts aside.
Peel the onions and slice them into rings; crush the garlic Heat the sunflower oil in the frypan that was used for the nuts, add the onions and cook on low-medium heat until soft and browned at the edges, about 25 minutes.
Roughly chop the parsley, basil and tarragon. Grate the zest off the lemon and squeeze out the juice (you want about 60mL).
Gently toss together all the ingredients - rice, quinoa, remaining 60mL olive oil, nuts, onions, herbs, greens, cherries, lemon juice and zest. Allow it all to rest and mingle for 10 minutes or more before serving.