Farmer’s Market Wild Rice Salad with Miso Dressing

June 18, 2012 | By | COMMENTS

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It’s funny how, when a partner goes away on a trip, you start to cook things that you wouldn’t cook if they were there. For many people, that might be something really decadent (rib-eye for one, for example) but for me, lately, I move in the other direction: I go healthy.

Which is not to say that I don’t cook healthy when Craig is here (see: Craig’s Quinoa Conversion) but that it usually takes some convincing. So now that he’s in Seattle for the week, I decided to make a healthy dinner too healthy-sounding for him to accept. Turns out it’s one of my favorite things I’ve made in a long time.

The recipe comes from a website called Sprouted Kitchen which certainly sounds health foody. I took many departures, though, from the recipe posted there: mainly I kept the wild rice and the dressing and then added a bunch of vegetables that I bought at Cookbook, that store in Echo Park, which gets its produce straight from farmers (which is why I’m calling it a farmer’s market salad even though it didn’t come from the farmer’s market).

Let’s start with the wild rice. It comes from Rancho Gordo as most good things in my kitchen do:

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I bought it in Napa at The Fatted Calf and wasn’t sure what I’d do with it. This salad was a good choice.

To cook the rice, take one cup of it and rinse it:

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Then bring 4 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add the rice, lower to a simmer and cover. It takes about 45 minutes or so; the only real way to know if the rice is done is to taste. It should be pretty tender. (Also: the rice will start to split and you’ll see a white germ coming out of the middle.) Towards the end, season with more salt to taste. Then drain the rice and return to the pot:

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(Don’t you like my new pot? I bought it on a recent trip to Palm Springs.)

While the rice was cooking, you should’ve been making your dressing.

Have you ever bought Miso before? I hadn’t until I saw it at Whole Foods and decided to bring it home. Here’s what I bought:

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Here’s what it looks like with the lid off:

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This stuff is awesome. It’s so wonderfully potent, with such a unique flavor. If you’ve had Miso soup, you know that flavor: now imagine it concentrated into a paste and you get the idea.

Take a big spoon of the stuff and add it to a bowl along with a splash of rice vinegar, a splash of sesame oil, a drizzle of honey (you could also use Agave, but honey works fine) and whisk.

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That, by itself, tastes pretty awesome. But then grab an orange off your orange tree (hey, I’m lucky enough to have one) and cut it in half:

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Add the juice to the dressing, whisk and taste. It should taste even better than it did before.

Now add half the dressing to the warm rice and stir it in thoroughly.

After that, chop up whatever vegetables you want to add–I added carrots, cucumbers, and radishes–throw them in with the rice, some toasted sesame seeds, and more dressing.

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And there you are: a healthy dinner with enough character not to feel healthy. If you want protein, you could certainly add tofu like the original recipe suggests. But that word “tofu” is even too much for me to take; if Craig were here, and I put tofu in the wild rice salad, he’d run away screaming.

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Categories: Recipes, Salads