Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lemony Brown Rice Salad with Stone Fruit and Herbs

I am here to fulfill a couple of summer requests! For this Satiny Chocolate Sauce, for example, which is different from the healthy fake Magic Shell, and also different from my famous hot fudge, which you will see is not hyperlinked, because I have never posted the recipe! What? (Mental note.) For this Minted Cherry Tabouli. This One-Bean Salad. All are back. Yay! Thank you for the requests and please keep them coming. I also need to make my annual plug for this pasta, which continues to be so crazily good that I actually look forward to zucchini season, and for this cake, these popsicles, and, for that matter, this book, which, come August, I am so glad we own.

Okay. Moving forwards.

Ben and his friend Ava, 2015
And backwards.
Ben and his friend Ava, 2005

And right up to the present! 

This is the kind of late-summer clearing-house dish I love. Tangy, herby, crunchy, juicy, fruity, and a perfect vehicle for any harvesty overabundances that might be coming your way. 

It is also a terrific potluck take-along, as it gets big, enjoys popularity, and travels well. I confess that we got invited to a party last week, and I committed to making a salad with only what we had in (and behind) the house, which turned out to be quinoa, foraged beach plums, purslane from our yard, miscellaneous herbs, and a jar of pickled green beans. It was not bad! But this might be better.

Lemony Brown Rice Salad with Stone Fruit and Herbs
This is the late summer version of the springtime brown rice salad, and is similar to the Summery Whole-Grain Salad, but please don’t feel captive to the vagaries of my personal hell-hole of a refrigerator! Use whatever you have that’s lovely and fresh: different herbs, different fruit, barely steamed green beans, peas, sautéed squash cubes or onions, finely chopped kale, cherry tomatoes, anything good. Furthermore, if you don’t have or want to use the rice, use farro, barley, or quinoa. And finally, if you don’t have lemons, you can’t make lemonade! Or this dressing, so make Ben’s Perfect Vinaigrette instead, and start with about half of it to taste.

2 cups brown rice (I like short grain, even though they recommend long, because it’s sweet and nutty)
4 teaspoons kosher salt plus another teaspoon
3 tablespoons good olive oil
The grated zest of 1 lemon, plus its juice (around 2-3 tablespoons)
2 peaches or nectarines or plums, diced small (or 1 ½ cups pitted cherries, halved)
1 cup crumbled feta or diced fresh mozzarella
1 English cucumber (or 2 regular), seeded and diced small
2 scallions, slivered
2 stalks celery, with their leaves, sliced thin
½ cup chopped or slivered almonds, toasted or fried in a bit of olive oil until just browned
1 cup chopped herbs: I used basil and parsley, but mint and cilantro are great here too

Cook the rice: Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender (around 25 minutes). Drain the rice well, then put it back in the pot, put a dish towel over the top of the pot, and replace the pot’s cover. Let the rice steam and cool for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Add the rice and all the remaining ingredients, and stir to mix. Taste for salt and lemon, and add more if it needs it. You can also, if something seems at all off about the balance, try adding a little pinch of sugar.

Let the salad stand at room temperature for up to an hour (really try not to have to refrigerate it, or it will lose a great deal of its loveliness).


  1. Aww. I still chuckle thinking of tiny Ben asking if he could be partners with Ava and another. This passing of time thing is both beautiful and for the birds.

  2. Nothing makes my stomach flip more than coming across toddler pics of my big kids.

    Except for coming across toddler pics of your big kids.

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  4. Anonymous8:31 AM

    Ok, I've been reading you for years - how is it possible I have missed out on this pasta (with the zuchini and corn) for so long? I made it last night and it is the best dinner I have ever made. Thank you! Also, loved the story/link behind the recipe. I started reading you at Babycenter while trying to get pregnant. I now have 2 girls, 4 yrs and 9 mos. and am totally feeling the whole breastfeeding under the table thing.

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