Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Potluck Salad: Rice Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, Peas, and Ham

Rice Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Parmesan, Peas, and Ham — Cook's Illustrated 7/2000
For light, fluffy, separate rice that doesn’t turn sticky as it cools, toast it, then cook it with the “pasta” method. To avoid a mushy salad, spread the rice out to cool.

Serves 6 to 8


Taste the rice as it nears the end of its cooking time; it should be cooked through and toothsome, but not crunchy. Be careful not to overcook the rice or the grains will “blow out” and fray. Aromatic basmati rice works well in any of the rice salads, but regular long-grain rice works fine, too.

INGREDIENTS

Boiled Rice for Rice Salad
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice or basmati rice
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 small clove garlic , minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas , thawed
6 ounces cherry tomatoes , quartered and seeded (about 1 cup)
1 ounce deli-style baked ham (thin-sliced) or prosciutto, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese , shredded (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

1. For Boiled Rice: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot. Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium heat until hot, about 3 minutes; add rice and toast, stirring frequently, until faintly fragrant and some grains turn opaque, about 5 minutes.

2. Add salt to boiling water and stir in toasted rice. Return to boil and cook, uncovered, until rice is tender but not soft, 8 to 10 minutes for long-grain rice or about 15 minutes for basmati. Meanwhile, line rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Drain rice in large fine-mesh strainer or colander; spread on prepared baking sheet. Cool while preparing salad ingredients.

3. For Salad: Stir together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Combine rice, peas, tomatoes, ham, Parmesan, and basil in large bowl; drizzle oil mixture over and toss thoroughly to combine. Let stand 20 minutes to blend flavors and serve.

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