Alright. There’s this three day weekend ahead, and if the stars align, it’ll be blessedly warm and filled with hours of outdoors eating – an activity I’d easily rank among my top five favorite things to do. I’ve been making a lot of grilled meat dishes with an eye towards this weekend and the many summer weekends to come. And I knew that this meat-heavy throwdown (coming Friday!) was in need of something non-meaty to round things out. Thus, a salad. I am pretty sure this salad would do equally well alongside some well-marinated grilled tofu, too.
It’s heartier than many summer salads, which makes it a fine and generous thing to eat all by itself. It’s got the best of early summer produce in a partnership that’s flexible and lenient. Throw in some zucchini if you wish, or some shredded carrot. Opt for a tamer lettuce than arugula. But whatever you do, have fun with it. And try to eat it out of doors.
Also! This salad tastes a lot better at room temperature than it does chilled.
COCONUT RICE SALAD WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND CORN
1 cup sweet brown rice (or any short grain brown rice)
13 ounces (1 can) light coconut milk
2 inches fresh lemongrass, sliced in half (optional, but worth it!)
1 inch knob fresh ginger (also optional)
1 ear corn
1/2 cup sliced shallots
2 cups arugula, rinsed
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar (or use a similar, mild vinegar)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
First, prepare the rice. I love to use a rice cooker, but if you don’t have one, combine the coconut milk, 3 ounces water, lemongrass, ginger and the rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer until the liquid has been absorbed. Refrigerate for one hour to cool. Remove the ginger and lemongrass.
While the rice is cooling, prepare the corn. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Break the ear of corn in half. Boil for about five minutes, until the rice is tender but plump. Stand one half of the corn on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut along the length of the cob. Repeat with second half of corn. Set aside.
Next, saute the shallots. Warm a small skillet over a medium low flame. Add a little oil. Saute the shallots until soft, about five minutes.
Make the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and sea salt until emulsified.
In a large mixing bowl, ctoss the cooked rice, cherry tomatoes, arugula, corn, shallots and the dressing. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
This salad is ideal served at room temperature, not chilled. Enjoy!