One of my favorite things are grain-type salads that can be eaten hot or cold. While I’m absolutely a hot-food person (have you ever seen a sandwich on this blog? uh, no), once in a while it’s nice to have something filling and healthy in the fridge that I can easily munch on. This porcini and wild rice dish fits the bill: it’s fantastic heated and served with beef, chicken or fish, and just as good chilled with a few greens.
The key to this recipe is that it’s all about texture. The silky smooth umami-esque reconstituted porcini mushrooms, the rough wild rice, chewy dried cranberries, and crunchy pecans all make for an incredible mouthful. Plus, it has that whole sweet-savory thing going on that I love so much.
I first ate the porcini wild rice salad for dinner with steelhead trout that had been marinated in a garlic and balsamic vinegar reduction, then had leftovers for lunch the next day with a piece of leftover steak. Both times it was fabulous and incredibly nutritious with a small side salad or wilted baby spinach.
Here’s the recipe:
Porcini Wild Rice Salad
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (1 bag)
1 cup wild rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup hot water. Let sit for 45 minutes until reconstituted, then roughly chop.
To cook the wild rice, combine with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a pot set over high heat. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to low, cover and simmer for 55 minutes or until tender.
Once the mushrooms have been reconstituted and chopped, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and rosemary and cook for 1 minute, then add the dried cranberries and cooked wild rice, including any water that may not yet have been absorbed. Decrease the heat to low and cook uncovered until all the water has been absorbed.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the toasted pecans and scallions. Enjoy hot or cold.