Monday, March 17, 2014

An Elephant Never Forgets...until it does

I used to make a prawn salad, all the time. It was an almost weekly summer go-to recipe. Prawns marinated in olive oil, sumac, garlic, herbs and more, fried in a hot pan with a splash of white wine to cook down into a dressing for a yummy salad of baby spinach leaves, avocado, tomatoes, chickpeas and I forget the rest but gee it was tasty. I always thought I would remember that recipe given I made it so often.

And then we moved to Canberra and I didn't make it as often, actually at all, for whatever reason. And then I forgot how to make it. I was completely blank when I went to make it this summer. Damn.

I don't want to be in the same position with my Nutty Brown Rice Salad; that's it above. It's my current go to. A regular one of my minimum three salads for a BBQ (yes, a minimum of three salads at any BBQ at my place). A regular on our summer dinner table - often with meatballs, fresh tomato, sliced spanish onion and hummus in wraps. So, here's my best attempt at helping an elephant to never forget....

Nutty Brown Rice Salad

I think the secret of this brown rice salad is the flavour the rice gets from cooking in the stock and all the garlic. I use homemade chicken stock for most things but I keep a tin of (insert brand name) low-salt imitation chicken stock (what's that you say? Chicken stock for hipsters ?) just for this.

1 1/2 cups brown rice (I don't actually measure this, I just pour it into the saucepan but I think this amount is about right for the rest of the ingredients)
1 big heaped Tbsp powdered stock
3 garlic cloves, peeled plus 1 extra crushed or finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium brown onion, diced
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp slivered almonds
2 Tbsp pepitas
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
chickpeas - about 3/4 tin (I use chickpeas I've soaked, boiled and frozen - about a small ziplock bag full)
salt and pepper to taste and an extra glug of olive oil
chopped fresh parsley

Put the rice into a saucepan with the stock powder and 3 peeled garlic cloves, cover generously with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer rice until cooked.

While the rice is cooking, heat a medium sized frypan (one that will fit all the rice in it) over a low to medium heat. Add the oil and onions, a dash of sea salt, pine nuts, almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds and cook until the onions are soft and starting to turn a bit brown and crispy and the seeds and nuts are looking toasty.

Add the extra garlic clove and cook just a little bit more to soften.

By now the rice should be cooked (be careful not to over cook it). Drain well and add to the onion/nut/seed mix along with the chickpeas. Keep the garlic cloves that were boiled with the rice in there too, just use your wooden spoon to mash them down a bit and mix them in well.

Add a gluc of olive oil, parsley, salt and cracked pepper to taste and mix well.

You can serve it hot but I prefer it cold. Would be pretty good alongside some falafel.

Now it's turning cool enough to get the knitting needles out, I have plenty of time to experiment to get that prawn salad recipe back, ready for next summer.