This time it's a side dish. I was looking for a new cold rice dish to bring to a barbecue the other night and found this one from Delia Smith. I wasn't that excited by her choice of herbs though, so I tweaked it a bit to make better use of some the best of what my greengrocer had to offer this week. If people's coming back to take second and third helpings means anything it was a hit.
Here's my version. (This is where I would have inserted a photo of the dish, but my husband went and finished it when I wasn't looking. You're just going to have to take my word for it that it looked lovely and summery with all those little flecks of green against the white rice.)
Robin's Cold Rice Salad with Spinach and Herbs
12oz (350ml) white or brown rice
24 fl oz (700 ml) boiling water or vegetable stock - double the volume of rice (I used water)
2-2.5 Tbls oil
1 tsp salt
2-3 handfuls of spinach leaves
3-4 spring onions, including the green tops
1-2 heaped tsp EACH of fresh sage, mint and dill
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
For the dressing:
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 clove garlic
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 Tbls cider vinegar
5 Tbls olive oil
Heat the oil in a pan, stir in the rice, then pour in the boiling water or stock. Add the salt, stir once and allow it to come back to the boil. Cover, then reduce the heat to give a bare simmer. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just tender (15-20 minutes).
Throw all the green ingredients (spinach leaves, green onions and herbs) into the food processor and pulse a few times until they're finely chopped. (Don't overprocess or you'll wind up with a puree.)
Mix the green ingedients and the lemon zest (the grated rind) gently into the rice. Cover the pan with a folded cloth and leave aside for 10 minutes.
Make the dressing by crushing the salt, peppercorns and garlic together with a pestle and mortar. (You could probably do this in the mini bowl of a food processor, but it was very easy to do in a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, just mince the garlic beforehand and then use regular salt and ground pepper). Pour into a screw-top jar. Add the mustard, vinegar and olive oil, and shake the whole thing until well-mixed.
Put the rice into a serving bowl, pour the dressing all over and mix gently.
Serve warm or cold.