Cherie: Today I’m going to be exploring some of the dishes that we prepare in our deli that are ethnically linked to the Mediterranean. So we’re going to be doing a dish that I particularly love greek salad near me. We call it the great Greek salad, and what it really is is it’s pretty much the same as dolmas, except that we don’t take the time to roll the dolmas. So it’s a much faster and easier way to serve the dish, and It has all the flavors, including the grape leaves.
None of these ingredients take very long to prepare. This is all wild rice, and wild rice is something that is wild crafted. It’s wild crafted in marshland, usually by Indians, and it’s done in the traditional way. Because of the fact that we don’t cook, what we do is that we soak it, and different wild rices take different amounts of time to bloom. When I say bloom, what I mean is that they explode. They open up, and then they are palatable. Otherwise, they’re just too crunchy. But the fact is is that wild rice is not a rice at all. It’s a seed. It’s actually a seed. So it’s not a starchy rice, but it’s very satisfying. It’s as satisfying as rice is. Some wild rice is raw; some of it has been lightly passed over a flame to be roasted so that it opens more easily. So what you’ll find is, and you won’t know necessarily which is which, but you can buy the rice, and if you soak it for a couple of days and it doesn’t start to bloom then it’s probably raw and it may take as much as nine days for it to bloom, to soften. So I usually have wild rice that’s softened because it does take a long time. I usually have it already bloomed and I keep it in my refrigerator.
I’m going to tell you right now how to bloom wild rice. With wild rice its medium of growth is in water. I mean that’s the way it grows, so you have to keep it in water. You put it in water for 24 hours, you change the water. Put fresh water in it and leave it in water and continue to leave it inwater until it blooms, always rinsing it every 24 hours. Once it’s bloomed, rinse it, change the water again and store it in the refrigerator in water. You can change the water every two or three days once it’s in the refrigerator and you can leave it in there for a couple of weeks. So you can always have wild rice if you want to make it at a moments notice.
There are so many wonderful flavors of wild rice salads. There’s any number of wild rice salads that you can make. You can make this Mexican style and we do this Mexican style in the school just as if it were Mexican rice. You can do it as Asian rice and we do it as Asian rice in the school with Shitake mushrooms and sesame oil and wonderful flavors of Asia. There’s just no limit to the different flavors that you can give wild rice because it doesn’t have much flavor of its own. It’s texture, that’s what it is. It provides great texture and it will be a sponge for whatever flavor you want.
So I’m starting out, this was one cup, one cup of wild rice and so now I’m just going to add the rest of my ingredients. I’m going to add some diced tomatoes. Now I want my tomatoes to be fairly small dice, not large dice. I need to have a small bowl that I can pour off some of this liquid. I want it to be a small dice because the rice is small. If I put large, large pieces of tomato in here what’s going to happen is the rice is going to fall to the bottom, I’m going to have all this tomato, hank you dear, and I’m not going to get the perfect bite. You know what the perfect bite is?
A little bit of everything. There’s a reason. Some salads you don’t want a perfect bite, you want to taste a big piece of tomato and a big piece of cucumber. In fact Horiatiki is that way. You have Horiatiki, you have big chunks of different things and you get to bite it with a piece of feta cheese, which in this case of course is almond feta or a piece of lettuce and a piece of onion, however you, you know different ways. But with a perfect bite you want a little bit of everything. So this has been sitting for a little while and it’s accumulated a bit more liquid than I want and now I’m going to add my tomatoes and this was two cups of Roma tomatoes. I’m also going to add two cups of finely diced zucchini and again, this is a fine dice.
All right, I’m also going to add a half a cup of olive oil and this of course is organic olive oil. You can cut back on the amount of olive oil if you want to. This is rather a rich dish but then this is going to serve a lot of people so half a cup of olive oil is four ounces, which means it’s eight tablespoons and I would expect you would serve at least 12 people really with that many tablespoons of oil. This says six to eight tablespoons but you’re going to see it actually makes quite a bit. That would be if this were all you were eating and it is quite, quite satisfying.