We’re home from our camping trip — yes, it did snow on us, in the Grand Canyon, no less! — and I’m ready to start cooking again. Not that I didn’t cook in canyon country, but there are limits to what you can do with a Coleman stove, and besides, you don’t want the recipe for mac ‘n cheese anyway.
You might, however, want this fantastic recipe for Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Tarragon. Many starch-based salads get their flavor from the dressing. Not this one. Rather than drenching the rice with vinaigrette, you build flavor by quickly sautéing leeks and tarragon, then adding walnuts and lemon zest. The dish has just one tablespoon of oil, so there are no unsightly (not to mention unhealthy) puddles of dressing left at the bottom of the bowl. Aside from boiling the rice, the salad comes together very quickly. My suggestion is to make the rice when you’re home doing something else, then put it in the fridge until you’re ready for dinner.
Note that the original recipe calls for 2 bunches of scallions. Ever since the Hepatitis-A outbreaks linked to raw scallions seven or eight years ago, I’ve stopped using them unless I know the grower. (Click here for a New York Times article on the outbreak.) Since I don’t have access to any local, organic scallions right now, I substituted locally-grown organic leeks.
Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Tarragon
Adapted from a recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
2 1/2 cups cooked wild rice or brown rice-wild rice blend (approximately 1 cup uncooked)
1 T olive oil
2 small leeks, sliced into thin rounds and washed well
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 T walnut oil
Zest from 1 lemon, plus a few lemon wedges
If you haven’t already done so, cook the rice according to package directions and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute leeks and 2 T tarragon over high heat for one or two minutes. Add walnuts and cook until leeks are soft and walnuts are toasted, just a few minutes more. Stir the walnut oil into the rice, then season with salt and pepper. Top salad with lemon zest, then toss at the table. Serve with remaining tarragon and lemon wedges.