A recipe I’ve been meaning to post for a few weeks, this Mediterranean Rice Salad was my contribution to our family’s Christmas dinner. It’s a summery and fresh salad with Christmas colours to boot, and I thought it would fit in nicely with these photos from a recent trip to Balmoral Beach in Sydney’s Harbour.
Mediterranean Rice Salad
1 and 1/4 cups arborio rice
1 red capsicum, diced
1 red onion, diced
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, finely chopped
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice from 1-2 lemons
To cook the rice, bring a medium sized saucepan of water to the boil, then add the rice and cook for about 10 mins or until the rice has softened but retains a little firmness. You don’t want it to be too soft as it will be too mushy for the salad. Drain the rice into a sifter and rinse with cold water, then set aside to cool.
When the rice has cooled, simply place in a large bowl with all of the salad ingredients and mix well to combine.
Once you have mastered the basic technique of a risotto, the possibilities are endless. I learned the basics from Jamie’s Kitchen, still my most favourite Jamie Oliver cookbook and one that has guided me successfully through many culinary experiments in the past. One of the best tips I’ve picked up from Jamie is that you really need to keep stirring the risotto to give it the creamiest of textures. Many times I have nursed a sore arm due to this tip! In my little kitchen, my two hot plates sit atop a miniature bench oven, which means that I also have to stand on tippy toe to see inside the pan! But I digress (and exaggerate). A perfectly cooked risotto is well worth the effort, and the pain is not so bad as I make out 😉 Tonight’s dinner turned out really well, as I was looking for something really simple yet still flavourful, and this risotto was both of these. I used a small sprinkling of chilli flakes in this recipe, but you could easily do without if you prefer.
Prawn Risotto with Lemon and Thyme
1 and 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon lemon rind
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 wineglass of a dry white wine
400g uncooked fresh prawns
Juice from 1/2 lemon
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, to serve
Heat the oil and butter together in a medium to large saucepan. Slowly sauté the onion until translucent, then add the rice and chilli flakes and coat in the oil and butter mixture. Add in the lemon rind, followed by the white wine. Adding the wine first will cook off the alcohol and leave behind a rich and deeper flavour. Keep stirring the rice until all of the liquid is absorbed, then continue to add ladles full of the chicken stock, stirring between each addition until the liquid is absorbed. It should take around twenty minutes to get through all the liquid. Just before your last addition of liquid, add the prawns and stir through with the rest of the liquid until just cooked. Remove the risotto from the heat, add the juice of half a lemon and place the lid on the top of the pan. Let the risotto sit for a minute or so, but not too long, else it will dry out. Divide between your plates and sprinkle the fresh thyme over the top of the risotto.