Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Courgette, Asparagus and Wild Rice Salad with a Basil Dressing

A fresh, summery recipe great for lunches on the go. As usual, this recipe was inspired by the big spread on Ottolenghi in last week's Guardian Weekend supplement. The original recipe calls for manouri which is similar to haloumi but I decided to make it more substantial and add my favourite thee rice combo instead. Since I prefer not to mix carbohydrates with animal proteins, I left the cheese out for now. My copy of the Ottolenghi cookbook has been dispatched and is on its way. I am more excited than you rationally ought to be about a cookbook! We got some absolutely beautiful cherry tomatoes on the vine from the market last weekend and gently baked, they add a wonderfully creamy note to this dish.

Courgette, Asparagus and Wild Rice Salad with a Basil Dressing

1 courgette
1 bunch of asparagus
handful of cherry tomatoes
handful of pine nuts
fresh flatleaf parsley
handful of baby spinach leaves
handful of fresh basil leaves
garlic cloves
olive oil
rice (I use a mix of long grain brown rice, wild rice and camargue red rice)

Whilst the rice is cooking, steam the asparagus in bamboo steamers on top of the pan for around 5 minutes. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a baking dish, cut side up. Spray with olive oil and bake for around 15 minutes or until just starting to get soft. Slice the courgette into long, thin strips using either a mandoline slicer or a vegetable peeler (I found the latter made them thinner and actually tasted nicer than when using the former). Heat a griddle pan and spray with olive oil. Griddle fry the aubergine slices for around 3-4 minutes each side or until the blackened lines appear.

Using the cooked rice as a base, arrange the courgette slices, asparagus and cherry tomatoes on top. Finely chop the flat leaf parsley and the baby spinach leaves and mix in well, along with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Add a twist of black pepper.

Place the basil leaves, 1 peeled garlic clove, two tablespoons of olive oil and a splash of water (to make the consistency more pourable) into the hand blender and blitz until it becomes a bright green smooth and creamy dressing. Drizzle on top of the rice and vegetables to bring a fantastic colour and flavour to the dish.

1 comment:

Abby said...

i made a version of this salad too, along with the broad bean and radish one with tahini dressing. both were delicious!