Camargue Red Rice Salad

I wandered aimlessly through the supermarket with absolutely no idea what to make for dinner. You know the kind of day, when you know what you don’t want to eat, but you’re not really sure what you do want either. You end up leaving the supermarket with a basket full of random items but not a clue what you are going to make with them. When you get your arbitrary assortment home you look them over and you either come up with something gratifying or you end up phoning for pizza.

I spotted a small and rather expensive pottle of French red rice sitting on a bottom shelf. Not really calling attention to itself, but I noticed it. I’ve seen red rice before, but not Camargue red rice. I plopped it in my basket and took it home to make something that was hopefully going to be show stopping delicious!

I had to research this rice, because I’d never seen it before. Apparently it’s a reasonably recent development in the world of rice, being discovered in 1983 by Ren Griotto. It’s a cross between the wild rice that grows in the area and a short grain cultivated rice. The French developed the rice until it was commercially viable and started producing it in large quantities in 1992.

It’s sold with the husk on and it retains it’s reddish brown hue once cooked. It has a colour like mahogany. It will colour anything that it’s cooked with. Treat it like a brown rice when you are cooking it, don’t expect it to be soft like a white rice when testing for doneness. It has a delicious chewy texture and a nutty taste. This salad is great to make ahead, since it will be just fine in the fridge for a while and still ok the following day. The salad will soak up the dressing though so you might want to dress it again before you serve if it’s been sitting a while.

The salad has tangy, salt and sweet notes as well as having some bite to it for texture. Olives, lemon and dried currants complement each other surprisingly well.

Camargue Red Rice Salad

Be flexible with the quantities, taste as you assemble it and make sure it tastes right to your palate. You may want to add more of a particular ingredient.

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  • 250 grams of Camargue red rice
  • 1/2 cup of green pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 large red onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup of dried currants (do not substitute raisins they are too large)
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 2-3 Tblspns fresh flatleaf parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup of Kalamata olives (pits removed and sliced)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Glug of olive oil - strange measurement I know

Cook your rice until tender - roughly 20-30 minutes.

Rinse under cold water when cooked to remove any excess starch.

Add in all your ingredients and slowly add olive oil in Tblspn lots until your salad is coated - but not greasy. Season with a grind of pepper and salt to taste. Mix well. Taste.

You may find you wish to add more lemon, or alternately you can add the juice of a small orange.

There are no hard and fast rules with this - do what you think tastes right for you.

Serve with a lemon or orange wedge.