Author Notes: With the scorching summer beating down on us, my husband and I were craving a light, fresh salad that would be hearty enough to be the main dish. This salad fits that bill perfectly! The wild rice gives a wonderful chewy, nutty texture to the dish while the fresh vegetables and herbs make sure that you taste summer in every bite!
Tarragon happens to be one of my favorite herbs and once I realized how aromatic the stems were, I decided to throw them into the pot to extract every last bit of goodness out of them! I would highly recommend letting the salad sit for a bit before you dig into it – the tarragon flavor was much more pronounced after the flavors had melded for a couple of hours.
Since I was cooking for my vegetarian husband, I couldn’t add any meat, but some roasted, shredded chicken would a great addition to this dish! Try it sometime!
Serves 2-3, as a main dish
Wild rice salad
- 1 cup wild rice
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 10 young tarragon stems, stripped of its leaves, tied together with kitchen twine
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, smooshed through a garlic press
- ½ tsp dried red chili flakes
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- ½ cup green peas
- ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a non-stick pot add 3 cups of water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp butter and the tied tarragon stems and bring to a boil. Add the wild rice, cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook until the wild rice is slightly al dente and chewy – about 40 minutes. Check the wild rice a couple of times while it cooks, to make sure that there is enough water. After about 40 minutes, take the lid off, stir the wild rice gently with a spatula and let any extra moisture that’s pooled in the pot to cook off. Set aside.
- While the wild rice is boiling, get the vegetables started. In a non-stick pan, add 1 tbsp of butter on medium heat. Add the onion, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté until the edges start to brown. Add the garlic, chili flakes and sauté for a few more seconds. Add the corn and sauté until brown spots start showing up on the corn. Add the bell pepper, peas and walnuts and sauté for just another minute (don’t let the bell pepper get mushy!). Check for seasoning. Set aside.
- Blend the tarragon oil (recipe follows).
- Mix the wild rice, the vegetables and the tarragon oil. Let the salad sit at room temperature for a couple of hours for the flavors to meld. Sprinkle with a few chopped tarragon leaves for garnish. I like it best served at room temperature but my husband likes it just barely warmed through! Take your pick!
- ½ cup packed tarragon leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Blend the tarragon leaves, olive oil, lemon juice along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Make sure that the leaves are blended in very, very well. (Since I was blitzing such a small quantity, I found it easier to blend everything in a small measuring cup using a hand blender).
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fresh Herbs