MINTED MESOPOTAMIAN MISSIMATI RICE SALAD
Fragrant Missimati Brown Rice is the center of a hub of Persian flavors blended in reserved balance in this eclectic taste and texturally sensational nod towards one of the world’s great culinary, trade, and agricultural centers. The rice can be cooked with meat stocks or with vegetable stock for a vegan friendly and healthy side or main dish, one as nutritionally rich as the Fertile Cresent. Contrasting briny olive and capers with sweet dates and raisins, springy Missimati and sautéed onions with crunchy walnuts and nutty pistachios, the dish is melded together with background flavors of zesty lime and cool mint and a handshake of feta. For maximum flavor, serve near room temperature or slightly chilled.
2 cups Missimati Bayou Bouquet Fragrant Brown Rice
3½ cups chicken stock, or vegetable stock if vegetarian dish is desired
3 tbsp freshly dried mint leaves, crumbled and crushed to small pieces (can be done quickly in 170 degree F oven with dividend of delightfully scented kitchen)
20 threads saffron, freshly ground, or about 1/16 tsp ground saffron
½ cup olive oil, divided
2 tbsp garlic, minced
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1 tsp dill
2 tbsp coriander seeds, fresh ground
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 handful scallions (about 8 or so), chopped
1 ½ cups chopped green olives (if canned, about a 6 ounce can, drained)
3.5 ounce jar capers, drained
1 cup golden raisins
½ pound dates, chopped (about 15 dates)
Juice of 2 limes
Zest of 2 limes
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup roasted pistachios
Crumbled feta cheese for garnish
In large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil, add rice, swirl to coat kernels, and gently heat until lightly aromatic. Add stock and saffron, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover with tight fitting lid, and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness achieved. Set aside to cool.
In oven proof measuring cup, blend lime juice and raisins and briefly microwave just to heat juice. Set aside.
In large sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil, add garlic, and sauté until lightly browned. Add chopped sweet onions, dill, black pepper, and coriander and sauté until onions nearly translucent. Add dates, macerated raisins, walnuts, and pistachios, heating and blending well. Add spinach, olives, capers, scallions, crushed mint and zest of 2 limes and sauté briefly until spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat.
To a large mixing bowl add the cooled rice, the still warm sautéed blend, and the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, blending together well. Place on serving platter, garnish with feta, and enjoy!