I happen to love rice, especially when it’s made into this refreshing rice grape and basil salad. It’s simple to prepare and with the light and flaky rice that adds just enough tender texture for the sweet juice grapes and hint of fresh basil, you’ll not get a heavy feeling after eating! I used Delta Blues Rice. They’re a family company located in Ruleville, MS. They also make ‘rice grits’ too…if you wanna know more or order then just clicky. My good buddies from Let’s Eat Ya’ll introduced me to this rice, and I must say, thank you, Andy and Marianna! Love to support local artisans!
Rice. Such a ubiquitous food. It serves as nourishment for many people around the globe. In fact, it’s the staple of over half the world’s population! And, the history of it and how it’s influenced different world cultures is fascinating.
There’s long, medium and short grained rice. Then there are various types, red, brown, white, black, basmati, jasmine, purple Thai, wehani. And, if you want to read more about the varieties, well, get ready for a ‘novel’ according to what Wiki says! Spend some time studying rice, and you’ll get a rich and complex global history lesson. That’s the beauty of food!
The pancetta is optional if you want to go vegetarian. Add two more tablespoons of olive oil. You can substitute avocado oil.
The fresh pea shoots are also optional. If you can't source, you could add microgreens or baby arugula.
2 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
½ lb. thick cut (about ¼”) pancetta, small dice (Note: You can have the pancetta sliced at the deli.)
¼ cup shallots, finely diced
1 tsp. garlic, finely minced
2 (6-8 oz.) packages prepared rice, your choice, I like organic jasmine or basmati
1 (10 oz.) packaged frozen petite peas, somewhat thawed, or fresh, i.e., from Trader Joes
3 cups fresh pea shoots, loosely packed
2 cups red grapes, seedless, sliced lengthwise in halves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Put the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta. Cook about three minutes.
Add the shallots and garlic and sauté a couple of minutes until translucent.
Reduce heat to low. Add the precooked rice, blend, cover and cook about five minutes. Add the peas and blend. Cover and let the peas steam a few minutes. Not too long as you don’t want the peas to lose their vibrant green color.
Remove from heat, put into a large serving bowl. Toss in the pea shoots and grapes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Leftovers keep well for a couple of days refrigerated!