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VENERE RICE SALAD WITH APRICOTS, ROASTED FETA & ALMONDS
What do you need
- [ ] 250g Riso Gallo Venere rice
- [ ] 8 not too ripe apricots
- [ ] 150g feta cheese
- [ ] 60g toasted almonds
- [ ] 1 small bunch of rocket salad
- [ ] 1 small bunch of thyme
- [ ] 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- [ ] Salt and pepper to taste
For the pickled red onion
- [ ] 500ml water
- [ ] 500ml vinegar
- [ ] 20g salt
- [ ] 20g sugar
- [ ] 15g salt
- [ ] 1 bay leaf
- [ ] 1 red onion
For the balsamic dressing
- [ ] 1tbsp honey
- [ ] 2tbsp balsamic vinegar
- [ ] 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- [ ] Salt and pepper to taste
Proposed by: Danilo Cortellini
How to prepare:
During the summer months in Italy there is usually a fall in risotto consumption, and that is due to the fact that risotto is often considered a wintery dish. This does not mean that we stop eating rice, ‘au contraire’ we keep eating a lot of rice and other tasty grains but in a different format, hence the large repertoire of rice salad recipes you can find. In this recipe, the sharp apricots with balsamic notes work a treat together with the salty feta cheese, the almonds and the fragrant Venere rice.
First prepare the pickled red onion but I won’t judge you if you rather go for a store-bought option! Bring the water and vinegar to the boil and add salt, sugar and bay leaf. Slice the onion into thin rings and place it into a bowl. Pour the hot liquid onto the onion and cover with cling film. Let it cool. The remaing heat will cook the onion. If you are making extra, keep the onion in cold liquid in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Prepare now the dressing. Whisk a good pinch of salt and pepper into the balsamic, add the honey and mix. Now add the olive oil while whisking until all combined. This dressing will naturally separate itself, simply whisk again before using.
Cut the apricots in halves and remove the stones. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and drizzle with olive oil and mix well. Char the apricots halves on a very hot griddle pan on both sides. It should take no longer than 1 minutes each side or until visually charred. It is important that the pan is very hot, the apricots well-oiled and that you do not attempt to turn them if they don’t look already charred or they could stick to the pan.
Boil the Venere rice following the packet instruction in salted boiling water and let it cool slightly. In a non-stick pan heat a drizzle of oil and pan fry the feta on both sides. Add a few thyme leaves for aroma. Cook for 2 minutes on each side on high heat and remember to be very gentle when turning the cheese as it is very delicate and crumbly when hot. Do not panic if it breaks or doesn’t come out well golden, the feta work well in this salad even as it is, so it won’t be a problem if not perfectly roasted or if it crumbles.
If not pre-roasted, toast the almond either on a pan or in the oven until golden. When cold, chop them into rough segments.
Assemble now the salad. Drizzle a little oil on the rice and plate in shallow bowls. Add the roasted apricots segments, crumble over the golden feta and top with pickled red onion rings. Drizzle over a spoonful of balsamic dressing and garnish the rice salad with the chopped almonds and fresh rocket salad.