The first killing frost has come and gone, and while my garden is pretty much a wasteland right now, not everything edible is gone. I have some herbs that are still hanging on, for example. And lots of chard.
I planted far more chard than was reasonable this year considering I don’t cook with it all that much. I used some of mine a couple of months back when I attempted a chard-based version of one of my favorite Indian dishes: Palak Paneer, and I’ve thrown a few leaves into soups every now and then. But I still have lots, so I was happy when I saw a pretty salad featuring chard in the beautiful cookbook Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season.
I love this book, and I have been cooking from it for the past few months. In addition to the brown rice salad with chard, grapes, and hazelnuts you see here, I’ve made the Poached Apricots with Rose Water, the Squash Blossom Quesadillas, and the Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters with Avocado Crema. Everything has been great.
Kimberly’s recipe for this chard salad includes wild rice. I like wild rice a lot, but I didn’t have any in the house. So I opted to use short grain brown rice instead. I didn’t use the rosemary garnish, but otherwise followed her recipe for this fabulous salad to the letter.
Brown Rice Salad with Chard, Grapes, and Hazelnuts
For the Salad:
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup red grapes sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
- 1 bunch rainbow chard
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced shallot
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small heavy pot, combine wild rice, water, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer over low heat for 50 to 60 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the rice has puffed open. (You may also use a rice cooker: that's how I cooked my brown rice.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the rice cooks, toast the nuts. Arrange the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast until golden brown and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes, then coarsely chop.
- Next, combine the grapes with the balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to marinate, tossing occasionally.
- Slice the chard stems from the leaves using a sharp knife. Slice the stems into small disks. Chop the chard leaves coarsely, Keep the stems and leaves separate.
- Heat the olove oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chard stems and saute for about two minutes to soften. Add the chard leaves and stir constantly until the leaves are soft, another three minutes or so. Remove from the heat, drain off any excess liquid, and set aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, shallot, rosemary, mustard, and salt. Add black pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, toss the cooked rice, chard, and grapes with the vinaigrette. Divide the salad among plates, and top with the hazelnuts and feta. Garnish with rosemary. Serve at room temperature.