Saturday, September 28, 2013

Southwestern Cilantro Rice Salad

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I first had this salad in New York City at a restaurant called Arizona 206. Chef Brendan Walsh was head of the kitchen at that time and one of the restaurant's signature dishes was this lovely cilantro rice. I had the rice so often that I was able to reconstruct it in my own kitchen from taste memory. I liked it then, and I like it now, because it's an easy and inexpensive way to feed a large number of people. It's also a wonderful accompaniment to Southwestern or Mexican meals. While I doubt this will become your favorite rice dish, it's great for church suppers, block parties and other large gatherings where refrigerator and oven space space is at a premium. This rice salad is one of those rare dishes that is actually better when served at room temperature. The version of the recipe I have in my files feeds 36 people. I re-sized it earlier this week to serve with a Southwestern-style meal I had planned for four people. I thought you might like to have a copy of the smaller recipe for your files. Without further ado, here's how we make Southwestern Cilantro Rice Salad. Oh, and should you like the recipe for 36, multiply all ingredients, save the lime zest, by four.

Southwestern Cilantro Rice Salad...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Brendan Walsh


2 cups cold water

1 cup long grain or basmati rice

1 teaspoon kosher salt + salt to taste

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, cut in 1/4-inch dice

1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper, cut in 1/4-inch rice

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons tablespoons fresh lime juice

Zest of 1 lime

Freshly cracked pepper to taste


1) Bring water to a boil in a 3-quart pan set over high heat. Stir in rice and salt and bring back to a boil. Immediately cover pan and lower heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let rice sit, covered, for another 10 minutes.

2) Transfer rice to a large pan. I use a roasting pan to assure enough space to thoroughly mix rice with other ingredients. Add cilantro, red and yellow peppers, olive oil, lime zest and juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve immediately or cover and let sit at room temperature until ready to serve. Yield: 4 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

Moors and Christians - One Perfect Bite

Forbidden Rice and Jewel Toned Grains - One Perfect Bite

Arroz con Pollo - One Perfect Bite

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