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Published June 01, 2011, 12:00 AM

Halgrimson: Chill out with cold salad

Last week I made my annual trek to Bergeson Nursery in Fertile, Minn., to serve lunch to their merry crew of workers. My efforts earned me several flats of plants for our Fargo garden.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

Last week I made my annual trek to Bergeson Nursery in Fertile, Minn., to serve lunch to their merry crew of workers. My efforts earned me several flats of plants for our Fargo garden.

Considering the weather, I should have taken a hot dish rather than the cold Wild Rice Salad with Tuna and Snow Peas.

The original recipe for the salad came from The New York Times and called for rice noodles rather than wild rice and a number of other ingredients I did not have in my pantry, so I improvised, which is one of my favorite things to do with someone else’s recipe.

When I make wild rice, I put it in a strainer and run cold water over it until the water runs clear. Then I put the rice in a pan with water to cover it by an inch or so, bring it to a boil and cook for a few minutes, cover and turn off heat.

Let it sit for a half-hour and check to see if it is done. If not, bring the rice to a boil again, turn off heat and cover for a little while. I did not use paddy rice, which I think needs longer cooking.

Drain the rice in a colander lined with a clean dish towel, and if the rice is still too wet when it comes time to add it to the salad, squeeze it in the towel to remove as much moisture as possible.

With the salad, I served a tomato juice cocktail sans booze and for dessert, lemon bars with fresh raspberries.

While the salad is not especially beautiful to look at, garnishing it with spears of inside romaine improved it. Everyone at the nursery liked it, and one of the workers who told me he didn’t eat tuna had two helpings.

Wild Rice Salad with Tuna and Snow Peas

12 ounces wild rice, cooked

8 ounces snow peas, strings pulled and blanched

1½ pounds fresh tuna steak

1 cup thinly sliced shallots

6 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root

16 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons peanut oil for sautéing

generous ¼ cup peanut oil for sauce

¼ cup red or white wine vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

freshly ground black pepper to taste

romaine lettuce to garnish

1. Cook rice, drain well and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, blanch snow peas until just tender but still snappy. Cool in an ice bath, drain and slice lengthwise into strips. Set aside.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan over high heat and sear tuna, about 4 minutes on each side. Drain tuna on a plate lined with paper towels, cut into pieces and set aside. In the same pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and sauté shallots, ginger root, mushrooms and sesame seeds until mushrooms and shallots are cooked.

4. Whisk oil with wine vinegar and soy sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. In a large serving bowl toss tuna and vegetables with dressing. Gently stir in rice and correct seasoning. Refrigerate covered. Makes 10 to 12 servings.


Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com

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