The window was cracked open just enough so I could smell the ocean and hear the squawking seagulls outside. It was March so I also had the fireplace blazing to offset the chilled air coming from off the water. I was alone, in a hotel room for two nights with the primary mission to finish the proposal for what is now almost a real book.
Somewhere between the marketing plan and the recipe list I got an email from Kimberley Hasselbrink of, The Year in Food. She was asking for a bit of advice on how to write a proposal. At that point (and possibly this point too) I felt in no place to be giving advice but I gave her what I got and needed from my husband and close friends throughout this whole book-making process – a cheerleader. Someone to say, “you got this! Keep writing. It’s going to be amazing!” Because I think that maybe genius is maybe more like 1% inspiration 69% perspiration and 30% cheers, hoots and hollers coming for your cheering squad standing right beside you. I’m sure Thomas Edison would agree.
Well, Kimberley it is amazing. Your book, Vibrant Food, is full of inspiration. You have me both running to my camera to work on taking better images and into the kitchen to whip up one of the many recipes that I’ve already creased the corner of the page. Girl, you did it and you did it real good.
This salad sits right next to another in the book that I can’t wait to try but this one went first because I had all the ingredients already in the fridge and cupboards. It’s simple to make, bright and full of flavor and screams summer from the corn to the nectarines. Also, it tastes great even after a night in the fridge, which scores big-time salad points in my mind because good salads that keep are hard to come by. Somehow it’s both hearty and light and since my mind is still on picnics I think this salad would make a mighty fine picnic addition.
Green Rice Salad with Nectarines and Corn
recipe from Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink
3/4 cup brown basmati rice
1 1/4 cups, water plus 1 to 2 tablespoons more for the sauce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
Zest and juice of 1 small lime
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 small ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
2 medium-ripe nectarines, pitted and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (I used Feta)
In a small saucepan, combine the rice and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Let the rice stand for a few minutes, then fluff. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Preheat the broiler.
To grill the corn, lightly oil both ears of corn and place in a small baking dish. Broil about 6 inches from the heat, turning every few minutes, until golden and blackened in spots, 10 -15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the kernels from the cob to yield about 1 cup. If you have more than this amount, save it for another use. Transfer the kernels to a bowl and toss with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime. Set aside.
Transfer the rice to a large bowl. In a blender, combine the cilantro, parsley, jalapeño, lime zest and juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon water. Blend until smooth. Add up to 1 more tablespoon of water to thin the sauce if it’s too thick. Spoon the mixture over the rice, scraping any remaining sauce out of the blender with a spatula, and mix until the rice is evenly coated.
To finish, add the corn and additional parsley and cilantro to the rice. Toss to combine. Transfer the rice to a serving platter. Sprinkle the nectarines and queso fresco over the rice in even layers. Garnish with additional parsley and cilantro. Best served immediately. Can be made up to a day in advance;bring to room temperature before serving.