Black Rice Salad


I used to own a finicky rice cooker made by a company called Fuzzy Logic. I came to rely heavily on this favorite kitchen appliance for all dishes involving rice. After years of dependable, consistent batches of perfectly steamed fluffy rice it just stopped working, bringing tears to my eyes. I realized that I couldn’t remember when I had last cooked rice on the stove-top. I never replaced my rice cooker and embraced cooking rice on the stove, which takes precision. Remember to rinse rice before cooking and follow the directions on the package, which will differ depending on the brand you purchase.

Black rice has an almost sweet, nutty taste. Often referred to as “forbidden” because the ancient Chinese royalty were the only ones allowed to consume black rice. Known for its antioxidant qualities, it was a prized ingredient. Once cooked, the rice turns brown and has a slightly chewy texture. This delicious rice salad has a variety of flavors and a spicy kick, with the addition of a jalapeño pepper.

Black Rice Salad

  • 1 cup black rice, rinsed well
  • 1 large naval or cara cara orange (you’ll use the juice and segments)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped  (optional)

Vinaigrette

  • Juice of the orange (about 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the vinaigrette, peel and segment the orange (cut away the membrane from the flesh) over a small bowl, catching all the juices. Whisk in the oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook the black rice according to the package directions. Drain rice and place in a large bowl. Add the pistachios, scallions, chili, cranberries (if using) and orange segments to the rice. Toss to combine all the ingredients. Add the vinaigrette to the rice and toss again to coat. Taste and season as needed. Serve the rice at room temperature. Garnish with more scallions. I added mandarin orange segments as well. Serves 4.

Inspiration: Fine Cooking

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