My Secret Way with Wild Rice
I've always liked wild rice a lot. "The Industry" thinks it should be marketed as a fancy grain, suitable for the holidays and special dinners, often paired with salmon. I think this is a mistake. It's great as an everyday grain. It's delicious, gluten free and healthy. It's kind of a pain to make but I think I may have stumbled on to an easier way. As a young cook, I'd make regular white rice and add a handful of wild rice. I thought it made things look pretty and the dish was more interesting. Of course, white rice cooks quickly and wild rice can take over an hour. The seed needs to split when it's fully cooked. I was watching Americas Test Kitchen on TV and they made a wild rice and mushroom soup that looked good. They also explained via science why the best way to cook wild rice is first on the stove and then in the oven. They added a spoonful of baking soda. I have my own standards and I'm just not going to heat up the oven for a pot of rice, especially after I've already been cooking it. I also am not keen on baking soda in this delicious grain but I decided to experiment. 4 cups water 1 cup Rancho Gordo California Wild Rice 2 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Mixteca salt Our salt has the same natural softening qualities of baking soda with none of the soapy flavor that could potentially ruin a dish. It's salty. That's good! I brought the pot to a rapid boil on high heat, then lowered the heat to medium and covered the pot. It took about 50 minutes, saving maybe only 15 minutes in cooking time and the wild rice hadn't completely absorbed all the water. I strained the rice and put some in a bowl with some good olive oil and a smoodge of sea salt. Holy cow! This was great. I shared some with my 14 year old son, thinking he probably wouldn't go for it. "Papa, is there more?" Is there a sweeter melody than that? Even better, the strained liquid is delicious and would be a welcome addition to any soup. In fact, I'd made Royal Coronas earlier for a salad and made a simple but killer soup with the wild rice water, the bean broth and some sauteed mushrooms I had in the refrigerator. I'll keep playing with this but I think I'm on to something.