As I read the May issue of Bon Appetit, I noticed one mention after the next of little, old Austin. I thought: what are we, Portland? Clarks Oyster Bar was noted in Dish of the Moment regarding shrimp toast; in a list of uses for hot sauce, the Michelada was inspired by one from a dive bar in Austin; and in the Good Health section, there was a story about our Lake Austin Spa Resort. We are pretty proud of our food scene here in Austin, so it’s nice to see our city being referenced more often in magazines lately. It was in that story about Lake Austin Spa where I found this Black Rice Salad, and the recipe is available online. This is an ideal dish to have on hand as our hot, summer weather settles in. Having a big bowl of this in the refrigerator makes grabbing a healthy lunch easier than ever. I collected some local green beans and tomatoes at the farmers’ market and mixed them with thawed edamame and sliced green onions. The bright red of the tomatoes and greens of the other vegetables look great with the dark, glossy black rice. Toasted walnuts add some protein and crunch.
Black rice requires about 35 to 40 minutes of cooking, so start that first. Once the rice is tender, you need spread the rice on a baking sheet to let it cool. While the rice cooks, toast the walnuts in the oven, and whisk together the vinaigrette. Lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and honey were whisked together, and olive oil was drizzled in while whisking to complete the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I like a lot of pepper with lemon. The original recipe doesn’t include cooking the green beans, but I don’t really like raw green beans so I blanched them after cutting them into small pieces. The edamame was thawed, the green onions were thinly sliced, and the grape tomatoes were halved or quartered. Everything was tossed in a large bowl, and the salad was ready for serving.
You could add a little decadence to this otherwise very healthy dish by topping it with crumbled goat cheese or feta, but it really doesn’t need it. My favorite accompaniment to it was extra tomatoes since they’re so good right now. This dish is just one more thing to love about Austin.