Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lemony Rice Salad With Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olives

I had a beautiful and delicious rice salad recently - Pat had made it with Kalamata olives, red bell pepper, and spinach - very refreshing. I have tried to recreate it with the ingredients I had at hand and was quite happy with the result; here is my version with Keeshu's seal of approval!


1 cup Basmati Rice
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup fresh Lemon juice (1 or 2 lemons)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes or to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 small clove Garlic, minced finely
2 cloves Shallot, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh Oregano, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely sliced
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
1 cup Leek, thinly sliced
1 cup Arugula leaves, sliced
1 cup Fresh spinach or Basella, sliced in wide ribbons
1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped
1 Fennel Bulb, chopped
1 Carrot, shredded
2 cups Corn kernels, fresh or frozen defrosted
1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup lightly toasted Pine nuts (for garnish)


Cook the rice in scant 2 cups of water with the salt. Cool slightly - about 10 minutes.

Prepare the dressing: mash the minced garlic and a pinch of salt on the cutting board with the side of a knife until macerated. Combine the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and all the herbs in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together well.

Fluff the rice gently with a fork, add it while still hot to the dressing and gently mix.

Stir in the leeks, spinach, and the arugula; the hot rice will wilt the veggies slightly. Allow the rice mixture to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix gently but thoroughly.

Serve right away or chill until needed.

Allow the salad to warm to room temperature if made ahead of time and chilled.

Garnish with the pine nuts before serving.

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