Black rice isn’t really black, it’s purple and it turns everything it comes into contact with purple too (you might want to check your smile after eating), so brighten it up a bit with some leafy greens and/or fresh fruit before serving, otherwise it looks a bit sinister.
Thai sweet black rice has a lovely nutty, grape-like flavor and is frequently used to make coconut-y, fruity desserts (replace half the water with coconut milk, add some sugar and top it off with your favorite fruit).
Here I’ve added toasted walnuts, dried fruit, celery and a dressing made with fresh orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some finely minced shallots – a great combination of crunch and chewiness with lots of nutty citrus flavor. I use whatever dried fruit I have to hand and in this case it was golden sultanas and cranberries but I’ve also made it with cherries and thinly sliced dried apricots – all delicious.
It needs to be made at least two and up to 24 hours ahead for the flavors to develop.
BLACK RICE & WALNUT SALAD with an ORANGE BALSAMIC DRESSING
(makes about 4-5 cups)
1 cup of sweet black rice, cooked according to instructions (about 30 minutes)
1/2 cup of walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup of dried raisins, cranberries, sultanas, sliced apricots or cherries
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon of finely minced shallot
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
The juice of 1 medium orange
2-3 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil
Sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper
Combine the cooked rice, walnuts, celery and dried fruit in a bowl.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour it over the rice mixture; toss thoroughly.
Cover and set it aside for 2 hours or overnight in the fridge. Bring it to room temp before serving, adjust the seasoning and dress it up with some fresh orange segments and perhaps fold in some chopped flat leaf parsley just before serving.