At first glance, this white rice salad from Rebecca Lang's Around the Southern Table looks a bit one-dimensional. Take steamed white rice, golden raisins, pine nuts, and scallions and toss with a bit of oil and vinegar—you'll have a decent salad but nothing out of the ordinary. But Lang's version is more than just a simple grain salad. The potent mixture of a lemon's zest and its juice whisked together with a touch of orange juice and a drizzle of sweet and tangy white balsamic soaks effortlessly into the hot rice, plumps the raisins, and tempers the bite of the scallions.
Why I picked this recipe: A rice salad seemed like the perfect second side dish to accompany this week's lowcountry boil.
What worked: The vibrant citrus dressing is a perfect accompaniment to the rice, raisins, and pine nuts. The salad tastes great at room temperature and cold the next day.
What didn't: Lang doesn't offer directions for cooking the rice itself; instead she defers to the package directions. Since this is a salad, be sure to rinse your rice before cooking to keep the grains distinct and fluffy, and cook the rice in 2 1/2 cups of water.
Suggested tweaks: If you can't get your hands on Carolina Gold long-grain rice, another long-grain white rice will work just fine (I used California Basmati).
Reprinted from Around The Southern Table: Coming home to comforting meals and treasured memories by Rebecca Lang. Copyright 2012. Published by Oxmoor House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:serves 6
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:55 minutes
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked Carolina Gold long-grain rice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup sliced green onions
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
Cook pine nuts in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
Cook rice according to package directions. (You should have about 6 cups.)
Whisk together lemon zest and next 5 ingredients. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until blended and smooth.
Combine hot cooked rice, green onions, raisins, and pine nuts. Pour dressing over rice mixture, and stir until blended. Let stand 30 minutes before serving, or cover, chill, and serve the next day.