Like a good potato salad, a good rice salad is a joy. Use long-grain white, basmati or arborio rice. More important than the variety is that the rice not be overcooked or mushy. The grains should be firm and separate. The best way to achieve that is to cook the rice as you would pasta, boiling it in lots of water rather than steaming it.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 2 cups long-grain white rice, arborio rice or basmati rice
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon (2 or 3 tablespoons), or to taste
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon each finely chopped parsley, chives, chervil, mint and dill
Bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a big pot over high heat. Add the rice and boil briskly for about 15 minutes, until the grains are slightly al dente. Drain the rice a colander, then spread it out on a baking sheet to cool.
Combine the shallot, lemon juice, vinegar and salt to taste in a medium bowl; let sit for about 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard until completely incorporated, then whisk in the oil.
When the rice is cool, transfer it to a wide salad bowl, fluff it up with your fingers, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the rice and toss lightly.
Just before serving, chop the herbs. Sprinkle them over the rice and gently mix them in. Taste, and correct the seasonings, adding salt, lemon juice and oil as necessary.
Transfer to a serving bowl.
VARIATION: With the addition of chicken or shrimp, a few dressed tomatoes and cucumbers, and quartered, soft-center, hard-cooked eggs, this rice salad can become a summer main course.
Adapted from "Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys," by David Tanis (Artisan, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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