This salad, mostly made ahead, travels well for elegant summer picnics. The currants, added at the end, add pleasant little bursts of acidity and color. Vary the ingredients and use other types of rice, as you wish. What’s important is to add the vinaigrette while the rice is still warm, so it absorbs the flavors.
Makes about 4 servings.
½ cup wild rice
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (not balsamic) or to taste Salt and pepper to taste
3 ounces sugar snap peas, strings trimmed
3 tablespoons broken walnuts or other nuts, lightly toasted
½ cup cooked chicken breast, cut in ½-inch cubes
1 scallion, chopped
½ cup currants, off the stem
A handful of arugula for each serving
Rinse the wild rice in a sieve under cold running water. Put it in a pot with 1½ cups water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the rice is al dente (about 30 minutes; cooking time varies). It’s important for the grains to keep some texture and not splay from overcooking. Drain any unabsorbed water.
Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. While the rice is still warm, stir the dressing into it and toss to coat each grain.
Blanch the sugar snap peas in a pot of water; drop them in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry them, then cut them diagonally into ¾-inch slices.
To serve, taste the rice for seasoning, sharpening if needed. Stir the sugar snaps, walnuts, chicken and scallion into the rice with half the currants. Lay some arugula on each serving plate and divide the rice mixture between them. Scatter the remaining currants on top and serve.