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 the food, they serve tasty side dishes. When a friend suggested we meet there for lunch, I was all in. Grilled sea bass was served with wild rice salad with corn and dried blueberries. It sounds like a strange combo, but it was rich tasting and textured against the simplicity and freshness of the fish. I took notes so I could recreate it at home.
Rice Salad with Corn and Dried Blueberries
Studying 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 healthy fat, 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 (or an Instant Pot). 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. You can also cook it on the stovetop according to the package directions.
Adding Aromatics: Leeks, Garlic, & Herbs
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. 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.
- 1 cup Lundberg Farms Wild Blend rice or black rice or wild rice
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided use
- 1 medium leek
- 1 large garlic clove finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or slivered almonds
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh or thawed, frozen
- ⅓ cup dried blueberries
- 1 tablespoons fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
- ½ tablespoon finely chopped chives
- For a pressure cooker, add rice to a 6 quart model and add 4 cups 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. See note below about cooking rice in a pressure cooker. When pressure is released, drain rice well. Place in a large bowl. For standard stovetop cooking, follow 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 rounds.
- 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.