Friday, November 27, 2009

Wild Rice & Portobello Salad


Mushrooms... such a delicious fungus! To highlight the Pacific Northwest in our Regional Thanksgiving menu this year, I wanted to prepare a dish using Chanterelle mushrooms, a mushroom variety that's found in this region of the country. However when I went to the store, I had a heck of a time finding chanterelle mushrooms. Typically, they are available from September through February but I had no luck finding them at the grocery stores I went to. So as a substitute, I used portobello mushrooms. It worked just as well with a rich, meaty flavor. The salad was hearty enough to be a meal all in itself! This dish is also one that can be easily made in advance and so easy too...

2 Days Before:
- Prepare the rice and cool.
- Chop up the dried fruits and toss with the cooled rice. Wrap and store chilled in the fridge.
- Prepare the vinaigrette and store in a salad dressing bottle or small jar; store in the fridge.

1 Day Before:
- Saute the garlic, onions and mushrooms. Cool and toss into the rice and dried fruit mixture. Wrap and store chilled in the fridge.
- Toast walnuts, cool and store at room temp.

Day of:
- Combine the vinaigrette with the rice mixture and place into a serving dish. Top with fresh watercress, toasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.


Wild Rice & Portobello Salad
recipe adapted from Sara Multon


3 boxes of long grain & wild rice mix
chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 bay leaf
12 sprigs thyme
4 teaspoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped

To prepare the rice: Prepare the long grain and wild rice box mix by place the rice mix in a pot. Prepare as directed by substituting the water called for with chicken or vegetable broth. Add the salt, bay leaf and thyme to the pot. Do not use the seasoning packet included in the rice mix (either save it for something else or discard.)

Cook the rice on the stovetop as directed or in a rice cooker/steamer. Once cooked, allow the rice to cool and set aside.


To prepare the mushrooms:In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from heat, drain well, and set aside.



Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mixed dried fruits, such as cherries, cranberries, raisins, chopped figs, chopped apricots or a combination
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 pound watercress
8 ounces fresh white goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, shallots, cumin, thyme, and pepper and season with salt. Add the dried fruits.

In a salad bowl, combine the cooled wild rice, cooked mushrooms, and walnuts. Toss with the vinaigrette and fruits.

To serve, portion the salad onto a large platter, top with the greens, and sprinkle with the goat cheese.