Growing up in an Asian American household, it was always strange for me when I went over to a friend's house for dinner and there would be butter all over the fluffy white rice. Rice to me was always simply served plain to balance, but not interfere with, the bold savory dishes—plus, nothing beats the distinctive nutty scent of jasmine rice. My boyfriend shares this preference for plain old rice, but when I visited his family a few years ago, his mom made a really delicious green rice dish that blew me away and sounds just like Mollie Katzen's recipe for very green rice from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without. Herbs, garlic, and scallions are pulverized and mixed with rice to make a healthy but tasty and eye-catching side. Add some poblano peppers into the green mix and you'll have a great burrito stuffer, too.
- 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (whites and greens)
- 1 cup (loosely packed) each: watercress, flat-leaf parsley, mint leaves, and cilantro leaves
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
- 4 to 5 cups cooked brown basmati rice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 3/4 lightly toasted pine nuts (optional)
- Squeezable wedges of lemon
Pile all the scallions and green herbs into the food processor and pulverize almost to a paste.
Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and sauté by itself for just a minute, then add the processed herbs and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
Add the rice, mixing it in with a fork until the green mixture is uniformly distributed. Stir in the salt and serve hot or warm, topped with pine nuts, if desired, and accompanied by a squeezable wedge of fresh lemon. Remind people to use it!