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Camargue Red Rice Salad

[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

A few summers ago, I spent a day in the Camargue, a part of France that had, for some reason, completely eluded my knowledge of the country. There are cowboys—French cowboys, who ride around on snowy white horseback in flat grasslands, herding (I had always thought that we Americans had the monopoly on cowboys)—and beautiful crystalline salts being dried out in the sun. Local restaurants serve stews made of the bulls herded down the grasslands.

That is where Camargue red rice comes from. I recently discovered Camarge red rice at the supermarket: It looks like grains of long-grain black rice merged with brown basmati rice, and turned a deep russet red. It has a chewy texture and a delicious mild but present flavor. I cook it as the French do, like pasta, in a huge pot of salted boiling water until it is al dente, and then I drain it in a colander. I am fanatic about rice, a simple food that I am content to eat simply, with just a pinch of that Camargue salt.

But sometimes it's worth gilding the lily, and for this salad I toss the rice with everything green: a lemony green parsley and olive oil sauce, little jewels of zucchini and haricots verts, slivers of green olives and walnuts, and shards of scallions and fresh raw spinach. It's so full of flavor, healthfulness, and texture that you can't help but love it. Serve it room temperature next to some roast chicken or charred whole fish, and you're in business.

You can find Camargue red rice online, but if you can't use it for whatever reason, try a wild rice blend or some forbidden black rice with this recipe.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way.

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