Rice salads, served at room temperature, are a very popular lunch dish at this time of year. The rice is boiled, drained and allowed to cool … at which point any kind of chopped up food can be added to it, to give it taste. One of my favourites is peas and cuttlefish rice salad, which also requires some lemon juice. Very fresh when the temperatures are up.
Emperor rice or ‘riso venere’ (the rice of Venus) as it is called in Italian is still a little exotic and not quite mainstream – I have heard of recipes for a riso venere risotto but to me that doesn’t make sense somehow, as this kind of rice will never go ‘creamy’, its composition is somehow different. It takes a little longer to cook (up to 40 minutes) than plain white rice.
I like it for its ‘looks’ but also for its almost nutty taste — that and as I said in a previous post it is said to rival blueberries for its antioxidants and health-promoting anthocyanins.
I had a nice chunk of mortadella in the fridge and was pining for strawberries … but had to do with kiwi fruit instead. No matter. I simmered the riso venere for about 30 minutes in slightly salted boiling water, drained it, drizzled it with a strong peppery-tasting olive oil, sprinkled salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. When it reached room temperature, I added cubes of mortadella and slices of kiwi fruit and put it in the fridge for an hour.
It was amazingly complex, considering how simple the ingredients were.
Here is another way of serving riso venere: with king prawns.
And, if you look closely at the small round bowl on the right, riso venere was served with shrimps and strawberries.