We seldom eat out, but I can’t resist Gulfstream in Newport Beach, CA. You can always get a great piece of fish, a terrific Caesar salad and a nice glass of wine. Another thing about their food, they have tasty side dishes. When a friend suggested we meet there for lunch, I was all in. The grilled sea bass was served with wild and brown rice with corn, dried blueberries, and nuts. It was rich tasting and textured against the simplicity and freshness of the fish. I took notes so I could recreate it at home.
I love rice and must have 10 kinds in my pantry. As I studied the plate at the restaurant I knew just the rice to use for my re-creation: a wild blend from Lundberg Farms. It combines brown rice, Wehani, Black Japonica and wild rice for a nice, nutty tasting, healthy blend, and is widely available. The corn added crunch and color, the dried blueberries sweetness, the nuts provided richness, and the herbs gave it a fresh appeal.
Many brown and wild rice blends can take 50-60 minutes to cook and steam finish. To save time, I cook mine in a pressure cooker. Instead of an hour, it takes just 20 minutes. With a pressure cooker you can get healthy whole grains on the dinner table in no time.
To the rice mix I added sautéed leek and garlic for my “aromatics” plus parsley and chives. For nuts, I chose pine nuts, although the restaurant used almonds. Both are good, depending on what you have in the pantry. That would be your refrigerator or freezer pantry where nuts are best stored.
For corn, I used frozen organic, because the fresh corn was not organic (so most likely genetically modified or GM). To finish for serving, taste for salt and pepper and drizzle on a little extra olive oil, toss, and you are good to go.
This salad or side dish can be served warm, room temperature or even chilled. Its the perfect addition for grilled or roast fish and chicken. For those following vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, add big grilled portabella mushrooms, sliced and served instead of an animal protein.
Rice and tool note – If you don’t have a pressure cooker, just cook your chosen rice according to the package directions. A wild blend is my choice, but all wild rice (really an aquatic grass) or black rice would also work well. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, it’s a great addition to any kitchen as a time-saving tool.
Rice Salad with Corn and Dried Blueberries
- 1 cup (180 grams) Lundberg Farms Wild Blend rice (or black rice or wild rice)
- 2-4 cups (1 2/ – 1 liter) water, to cook the rice, according to package directions; note for pressure cooker below
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 1 medium leek
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or slivered almonds)
- 1 cup (136 grams) organic corn kernels
- 1/2 cup (83 grams) dried blueberries
- 1 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped chives
- For a pressure cooker, add rice to a 4-6 quart model and add 4 cups (1 liter) of water, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt. Lock the lid on and bring the pressure cooker to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes if using Lundberg wild rice blend, then use the quick release method by putting the pot under cold running water until the pressure releases. See note below about cooking rice in a pressure cooker. When pressure is released, drain rice well. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Keep warm. For standard cooking without a pressure cooker, cook rice according to package directions.
- While rice is cooking, prep and cook the leek. Cut off and discard the tough dark green tops of the leek and the root end. With the remaining white and light green part, slice in half lengthwise and rinse in cool water to remove sand or dirt, then thinly slice the leek crosswise into thin half moons.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan or skillet. Add sliced leek and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the the pine nuts, corn, blueberries and herbs and heat through, then mix in with the rice. Serve hot, warm or cool.
For more information of Lundberg Farms rice products, here a link to their site.
A good cookbook with pressure cooker recipes and notes for cooking rice is by Lorna Sass, called Pressure Perfect.
Pressure cookers are a great time-saving tool to add to your kitchen. I have three from Fagor – 4, 8 and 10- quart. For this rice, I use the small 4 quart model. If you are just starting out, a 6-8 quart is a good size, depending on how many people you generally cook for.
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