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This salad from Yotam Ottolenghi's newest cookbook, Plenty More, has a lot going on and everything going for it. The mix of grains—white basmati rice, wild rice, and quinoa—is beautiful and texturally interesting; per his cooking times and methods, they are left with just a bit of firmness and keep their integrity once dressed. Almonds and pine nuts add toasty crunch, while dried sour cherries add chew and bursts of tart sweetness. Ottolenghi fries onions "...so that parts of the onion get crisp and others just soft" (it's this attention to detail that sets his recipes apart), and they weave themselves silkily through the salad. There's just enough verdant, spicy arugula to brighten things up, and the fresh licorice flavors of basil and tarragon perfume the mix. Tossed with lemony, garlicky dressing, every bite is fairly dazzling.
Why I picked this recipe: Grain salads are a fave, and I figured Ottolenghi would hit it out of the park.
What worked: This is a heady, multidimensional bowlful—a winner.
What didn't: All good!
Suggested tweaks: Per Ottolenghi, dried cranberries soaked in a little lemon juice may be substituted for the dried cherries if need be, and he notes that the salad can be kept overnight in the fridge, though it needs to be room temp and re-seasoned before serving. (Because I'm impatient, I was trying to knock the chill off a bowl of leftovers in the microwave, and went just a few seconds too far, to where the salad was barely warm. It was delicious this way, as well!!)
With a million thanks to our friends at Ten Speed Press, we have 5 copies of Plenty More to give away this week.
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