This light, nutty recipe works equally well as a centrepiece or a side dish. Photo: Skye McAlpine
Wild rice and lentil salad
Loosely adapted from Charlotte Wood's brilliant book Love and Hunger, this light, nutty recipe works equally well as a centrepiece or a side dish and is an absolute dream for picnics. I like it best with wild rice, which you often find sold as part of a mix with basmati or brown rice and that works too, just adjust the cooking times accordingly. You can cook the components – rice, lentils and crisp fried onion – ahead of time in stages, if that makes life easier, then simply assemble everything on the day you want to eat it. Once assembled, it will sit happily in the fridge for a day or two.
- 200g wild long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 litre water
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for seasoning
- 120g Puy lentils, rinsed and drained
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 120g pomegranate seeds
- a small bunch of mint, leaves picked
- sea salt flakes
- Toss the wild rice into a saucepan. Cover with the measured water and add ½ tsp salt. Bring to the boil over a high heat. When the water begins to gallop, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 25-30 minutes. The rice should be chewy and some grains may burst open like exotic flowers in bloom. Drain off any liquid, then tip into a large bowl, seasoning generously with olive oil and a little salt while the rice is warm.
- While the rice cooks, toss the lentils into a separate saucepan. Cover with the stock and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes until just cooked: you want them to hold their shape nicely and have a little bite to them. Drain away any liquid and add to the bowl with the rice. Fluff together with a fork and season with a little more olive oil.
- Lastly, cook the onion: heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry until very crisp and dark. Combine the onion and pomegranate in a serving dish with the grains and pulses.
- Before serving, tear in the mint leaves, toss, check for seasoning and serve.
This is an edited extract from A Table for Friends. Recipes and photographs by Skye McAlpine