Although rice salads are a very popular, light and healthful summer dish in Italy, I prefer to substitute cooked wheatberries, farro or barley for the rice. The ingredients may be varied so just let the best produce in the market or your leftovers, be your guiding influence. It should be colorful, aromatic and a bit piccante.
- 1 1/2 C. long grain rice, barley, wheatberries or farro
- 1 red, yellow or green pepper, seeded, white membranes removed, and diced into 1/3 in cubes
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 1/2 C. finely chopped red onion
- 2 ears of corn, shucked, cooked, shave the kernels off the cob for the salad
- 1/4 C. each parsley, basil and mint, chopped
- S & P
- 1/2 C. OO
- 1/4 C. lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- 1/4 lb. cooked ham, prosciutto, or speck, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 C. olives, green or black, pitted and sliced
Cook the rice/barley/wheatberries/farro in a large amount of salted water until tender. Drain thoroughly. If a bit wet, place in a large oven pan and dry out in the oven on low heat. Stir frequently with a fork. Place in a large bowl and add the prepared vegetables, herbs, (prosciutto, and olives if using) while the grains are still warm so they absorb the flavors from the other ingredients.
Whisk together the OO and vinegar or lemon juice. Pour over the salad, and season with S & P to taste. Let the salad rest at least 1 hour before serving to let the flavors come together. If you need to chill the salad, always be sure that you let it come back to room temperature before serving.
Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, or use as a filling for large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes. Alternatively, just serve straight from a pretty serving bowl.