A lively rice dish

Salad: Don't worry about that winter lettuce -- you won't really need it for this bowl of sunshine with flavors right out of southern France.

February 27, 2000|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

When the cost of lettuce soars, salad-making can be a tossup.

One solution is to enliven the salad course with some inexpensive, nutritious ingredients that often get relegated to side-dish status: rice and other grains.

Combined with fresh seasonal vegetables and assertive dressings and seasonings, cooked grains bring new tastes and textures to salads.

Styled after a classic Salade Nicoise, this salad combines rice and a few fresh vegetables with marinated artichokes, anchovies, olives and other robust flavors reminiscent of the French Riviera.

Rice Salad Nicoise

Serves 6

Makes 1/2 cup dressing

SALAD:

2 cups water

1 teaspoon each olive oil and salt

1 cup long-grain rice

1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts

1 2-ounce can anchovy fillets, drained

1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup pitted Nicoise olives

1 6 1/2 -ounce can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked

2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

1/2 cup chopped peeled cucumber (optional)

tomato wedges (optional)

DRESSING:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

In 2-quart saucepan, combine water, oil and salt; bring to a boil. Gradually add rice. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Lightly mix in artichoke hearts with their marinade. Transfer to large bowl, cover and refrigerate until cool.

Chop anchovies; add to rice with remaining ingredients.

Make dressing: In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and parsley. Gradually add oil, mixing with a whisk or fork until well blended and slightly thickened. Stir in parsley before serving.

Add dressing to salad; mix lightly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend flavors before serving.

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