Wild Rice and Dried Xoconostle Salad

I’m really nuts for wild rice, and even though it is native to the United States, we seem to save it for special occasions instead of eating it as an everyday grain. It does take a while to cook, but you can use a rice cooker or you can make extra, as it reheats well.
I want you to say xoconostle really fast, seven times, please. The pronunciation varies throughout Mexico but for the most part, you’ll be safe with show-ko-nost-lay. Or you can just say sour prickly pear, which is what it is.

Serves 4–6

 

  1. Thinly slice the green onions, keeping the white and green parts separate.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the green onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wild rice and the 2 cups water and bring to a rapid boil. Let the water boil for a full 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to very low, cover, and cook for 50 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed and the rice should be tender.
  3. Meanwhile, using kitchen scissors, cut both types of xoconostle into small bite-size pieces. In a small saucepan, combine the xoconostle, vinegar, and the remaining 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vinegar is almost absorbed, about 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the wild rice, the green parts of the green onion, and the pine nuts. Stir well to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Note: If you only have one variety of sweet, dried xoconostle, use 1/2 cup of it.