“This is so good.”
“Mmmm. I just want to crawl into the bowl and take a nap.”
“You could use a peanut for a pillow.”
“Omg, yes. And a cilantro leaf for a blanket.”
“And I’d go to take a forkful and you’d be on the fork, snoozing.”
“And I’d be all, ‘Don’t eat me, Martha! It’s me, your friend! I live here!’”
“And I’d pick you up by the collar of your shirt and set you down by my plate.”
“Yes. Because that’s what friends do. They do not eat their friend who has been mysteriously shrunken and trying to sleep in their delicious lunch.”
I know, I know. You’re all, “A salad? Really, Twix Tart?”
LISTEN. We’re getting married in a few weeks, okay? And by we, I mean Nicole is getting married and I’m just squealing and clapping and doing a lot of obnoxious question-asking at inopportune moments, and also pestering her about recipes when she’s knee-deep in wedding details.
So, yes. A salad. A delicious, healthy, visually stunning salad. There’s something so Thai about this salad. Lime. Peanuts. Mango. Cilantro.
When Nicole suggested this recipe from this month’s Bon Appetit, I had already used the same grain-salad guide to riff on a Roasted Tomato Quinoa Salad, which was on full display this week in our Facebook Group as a part of my Day of Cooking Crazy where I made way, way too many things last Sunday and began to seriously question my mental health.
But. Anyway. That guide is great. It should be a no-brainer to take a handful of grains, add a zesty vinegarette, add some protein and some fruit and veggies, some nuts here and there, and call it a day. But sometimes you need to see it all spelled out in just the right way.
Black Rice Salad with Mango and Peanuts
1/4 Cup of fresh lime juice, to taste
2 TBsps of vegetable oil
1 TBsp of fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam; optional)
2 Cups of black rice (preferably Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice)
2 Just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 Cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 Cup of finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
1/2 Cup of unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
6 Scallions, thinly sliced
2 Jalapeños, seeded, minced
1. Oranges: Remove peel and bitter, white pith from oranges. Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl. Squeeze membranes over bowl to release any juices. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
2. Add 1/4 cup of lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend. Set dressing aside.
3. Bring rice and 2 and 3/4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Season lightly with salt.
4. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes.
5. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing, and season lightly with salt; let cool.
6. Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
7. Add rice and toss gently to combine.
8. Season lightly with salt and more lime juice, if desired.