Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rice salad- insalata di riso

Everybody knows about pasta salad, but fewer Americans know about another popular Italian summer dish- insalata di riso, or rice salad.
I just made it this morning. It's lighter and more refreshing than pasta salad, but the main reason I made it is that I had a lot of disparate stuff waiting to be used. Here's what I did:

Made rice for four in microwave because getting near stove in July is uncalled for. Use regular rice, not risotto rice. It should be al dente. If you don't know how to microwave rice, here's how. I do it all the time. When done, put in fridge to cool its heels.

Then I got a large bowl. Finely minced my fresh flat-leaf parsley and basil (more parsley though). Got out half-can of solid chunk leftover albacore, carefully rinsed to avoid fishy taste. Added flaked tuna. Got pimento-stuffed olives, quartered. Added those. Got crinkly cherry tomatoes, quartered and added. Finely diced some crinkly red pepper, zapped briefly, added that too. Got out coolish rice, mixed everything carefully. Seasoned with salt and freshly-ground pepper (take into account saltiness of ingredients before seasoning). Doused with extra-virgin olive oil (Bertolli). Mixed carefully. Covered and placed in fridge. It needs to rest one-two hours.

This can be varied greatly. Here are some ideas:

Pieces of uncooked hot dog. Yes, this is authentic. In fact it's common.
Finely diced cheese (fresh mozzarella is very good).
Diced ham.
Diced artichoke hearts.
Hard-boiled eggs.
Finely diced zucchini.
Button mushrooms.
Kernels of corn.
Diced pickle.
Diced cucumber.
Cocktail shrimp (preferably fresh or thawed frozen).
Halved or quartered pearl onions.
Nuts, especially pine nuts.
Other herbs (fresh only)

Not all at the same time.