Jamie Oliver’s Wild Rice & Brussels Sprouts Salad – Done My Way

Eating this salad is like picking wildflowers in the mountains. A mouthful of this zesty, sweet, crunchy dish and you’d swear you can feel the fresh air pinching at your cheeks as you pluck yet another gorgeous flower. 

You’d imagine it to be cool and dewy, yet sunny and glorious up in the mountains where you’re certain that the most magical of wildflowers grow, right?

Right.

Anyway, if you’re curious, here’s the recipe that I tweaked to arrive at this glorious result.

What did I do differently? Well, for a start, I halved the recipe size and didn’t use radish. (I wasn’t convinced that the radish wouldn’t overpower the more subtle flavours.)

I also switched out the cranberries/raisins for pomegranate.

I love the fresh berry burst of those ruby-like seeds. There was a pomegranate tree at a house I lived in as a kid. I don’t think it ever produced more than one fruit at a time. That didn’t bother me; I thought it was pretty great in its singular magnificence.

I could climb into that memory and stay for a while. But, let’s move on.

De-seeding the pomegranate was a mystery to me, though. Thankfully, this handy little video set me on the right track. I used a wooden cocktail muddler, which was super effective in place of the spoon.

I took Jamie’s lead with the herbs and kept basil in there. But, I branched out to Thai basil for its almost floral aroma and strong anise flavour, and combined it with sweet potato shoots and ngo gai (aka sawtooth coriander).

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The tweak I’m most proud of is the addition of kiwano (of which I only used half).

I’m fond of a browse through the delectable freshness of the fruit and veg store. Surprise discoveries like this are the best!

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This unusual fruit became part of the dressing. I cut it in quarters lengthways and scooped out the seedy jelly.

It was strange, let me tell you, but it smelled nice and fresh—grassy, even—and tasted divine. A little like a hybrid of tamarillo and melon. That’s what I think, anyway.

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Mixed wild rice didn’t appeal to me, so I used Canadian wild rice instead (it’s organic by the way). 

I added almond flakes for nutty crunch and kale chips for light crispiness. 

How do you make kale chips? It’s easy:

  • Wash and dry the kale.
  • Cut the leaves from the stems (including the stem in the middle of the leaf).
  • Place the kale pieces on a baking tray.
  • Coat the kale with oil and salt.
  • Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes.

All of the rest, I prepared according to the recipe. Although, I did ignore Jamie’s suggestion to slice the Brussels sprouts with a mandolin. The sprouts are too small to cut safely (with or without the hand guard). Using a food processor, or—to be terribly old fashioned—slicing them with a knife works just fine.

Here’s how I made the finished dish look so damned good:

  • place the mixed herbs around the edge of the plate,
  • add the Brussels sprouts, red onion, wild rice and kiwano combo to the middle,
  • sprinkle pomegranate seeds around the edge,
  • do the same with almond flakes,
  • top with some kale chips and sea salt,
  • and, for a nice finishing touch, drizzle the salad with extra virgin olive oil.

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There you have it, with subtleties of the lemon and kiwano dressing, occasional bursts of red onion over the herby base, and little sparks of sweet pomegranate over the mildly earthy flavour of wild rice, this super tasty salad dances across your palate.

 

 

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