Rice Salad with Pecans, Fennel, and Herbs


Was flipping through a (sort of) recent Bon Appetit issue the other day (January 2015) and came across a recipe that looked tempting.  With the ‘warm’ weather — I’m talking upper 50s and sunny after 8″ of snow last week — it was just far too appealing.  It’s essentially a no-cook recipe, which was a bit off for a January recipe.

Red Rice Salad with Pecans, Fennel, and Herbs

1 cup red rice (I used the priceless Trader Joe’s microwave rice)
1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
2/3 cup pecans, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and finely chopped tender stems
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Toasted pistachio oil or almond oil (for serving; optional)

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Directions

Cook rice according to package directions. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool.

Meanwhile, toss fennel and onion with 2 tablespoons lime juice in a large bowl and let sit, tossing occasionally, until lime juice is almost entirely absorbed, 10-15 minutes.
So at this point, since it had to be thinly sliced, it was time to pull out the V-slicer/mandolin.  Had such a great time!

IMG_2511[1]IMG_2512[1]Coarsely chop 1/3 cup pecans; finely chop remaining nuts. Laziness here, bought them that way — and, a heck of a lot cheaper for some reason.  Cook in olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low until golden brown, 5-10 minutes. Let cool.

Add rice and pecans to fennel mixture along with remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and toss to combine. Gently fold in cilantro; season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with pistachio oil, if desired.

*Do ahead: Rice salad (without cilantro) can be chilled up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

This salad was mouthwatering.  I did not expect it to be this good.  Wow.  It could also easily be made with quinoa and/or another nuts.  Will be a perfect summer recipe.  Wow, delicious.

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