While on vacation in South Carolina, we visited Brookgreen Gardens which is a historic rice plantation turned into an outdoor garden museuem. It is a must see if your visiting the area! The scenary is absolutely breath taking! We took a narrated cruise along the creek that runs through a preserved rice field. At the gift shop, I was able to pick up a sack of Carolina Aromatic Rice from the same rice fields we cruised along.
When I saw Martha Hall Foose's recipe for Apricot Rice Salad, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try my rice. Martha uses basmati rice in her recipe. She also serves this salad at room temperature or chilled. I couldn't wait so I ate mine warm, but I love the idea of a cold rice salad. It would be perfect for a summer cookout!
Apricot Rice Salad
photos by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 green cardamom pod, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red onion
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
1 inch piece cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
In a 10 inch ovenproof pan with a tight-fitting lid, briefly heat the cumin, coriander, and cardamom over medium heat to toast, shaking the pan to prevent scorching. When the spices are fragrant, remove them from the pan and let cool. Grind the cumin and coriander finely with a mortal and pestle or in a spice grinder.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same pan and heat over medium high heat; add the onion, cooking a stirring occasionally for 4 to 6 minutes or until the onion is tender. Reduce the heat, and add the rice, spices, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Cook and stir until the rice is golden and each grain is coated in oil. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and mix in the dates, apricots, raisins, & cherries.
Add 1 cup of the orange juice, 1 1/2 cups water, and the salt, stirring briefly, just to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid.
Using a large fork to fluff up the rice and fruit mixture, turn it into a serving dish, drizzle with remaining olive oil and 1 tablespoon orange juice, and combine using the fork. Allow to cool, covered by a clean dish towel, then serve at room temperature or chilled, sprinkled with green onion across the top.