Bing Cherry and Black Rice Salad
By Julie Cader
I love the deep mahogany color and sweet flavor of fresh bing cherries. In this California black rice salad, the combination of fresh cherries, dried cranberries and medjool dates, along with the tasty chocolate/cherry vinaigrette, makes a wonderful salad for a backyard barbecue. Serves 6-8.
For the rice salad:
1 cup SunWest California Heirloom Black Rice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup bing cherries, washed, pitted and cut into half
5 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
¼ cup cried cranberries
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 ounces of crumbled blue cheese
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
For the salad dressing:
1 cup bing cherries, washed and pitted
4 tablespoons chocolate balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine California black rice, orange juice, water, olive oil and salt in saucepan, bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Chill cooked rice in refrigerator until cooled.
While the rice is cooking, in a blender, combine the cherries, chocolate vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper and blend until mixture is pureed. With the blender still running, slowly add the olive oil until mixture is combined. Set dressing aside.
In a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons of prepared salad dressing to the chopped onions. Set aside to marinate.
Toast walnuts and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine chopped cherries, dates, cranberries, celery and blue cheese. Add chilled rice and toasted walnuts. Stir in marinated onions and add remainder of salad dressing. Gently stir rice salad until well combined. Add salt and pepper, as needed.
Serve salad in an attractive summertime bowl. Happy BBQ!
Julie is the former Finance & Administration Manager for the California Rice Commission, and a big proponent of trying new recipes- especially if they feature California rice.