If you’re not sure what I mean, follow my thought process in creating this recipe.
First, I was in Trader Joe’s (not shopping for rice), when a bag of black rice caught my eye. Then, knowing this black rice usually turns a deep purple when cooked, I immediately imagined how cool it would look against the bright green asparagus I’d picked up earlier at the Farmer’s Market. So I added it to my basket. Next, I knew it needed orange. I went to grab carrots and to my delight, they had bags of carrots in a variety of colors. (The purple ones are so cool because they’re golden-orange on the inside!) I carried on, as if I were painting in my mind. I wanted some strokes of red and remembered I had dried cranberries at home. Perfect. Finally, when I got home and saw my bowl of lemons, I knew the yellow was just the color I needed to brighten the big picture, if you will. Make sense?
P.S. The day I made this, I was excited to see that my friend Gerry of Foodness Gracious had a similar response to seeing the black rice on the Trader Joe’s shelf. Check out his beautiful recipe for Moroccan Black Rice Salad with Burrata Cheese.
- 1½ tablespoons lemon zest (from about 3 small lemons)
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 small lemons)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1½-pounds asparagus
- ½-pound carrots
- 3½ cups cooked black rice (about 1¼ cups uncooked -- follow the directions on the package)
- ½ cup very finely chopped brown onion
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest with the lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Then gradually whisk in the oil and set aside.
- Place two medium-sized bowls with ice water on your work space.
- Cut the bottom few inches (the tough portion), off of the asparagus and discard. Then rinse and
- peel them from just below the floret to the bottom, using a vegetable peeler. Place a steamer in a pot with the water level just below it. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil and then add the asparagus to the rack and cover. Steam just until tender, about 5 minutes. Immediately add the steamed asparagus to one of the bowls of ice water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then remove, dry, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Peel the carrots and trim the ends. Then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Using the same steamer pot, over high heat, bring the water to a boil and then add the carrots and cover. Steam just until tender, about 8 minutes. Now immediately add the steamed carrots to the other bowl of ice water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Remove, dry and set aside.
- Making sure the cooked black rice is room temperature or cooler, add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the onion and drizzle almost all of the dressing over it and mix until the rice and onion are well coated.
- Very gently fold in the onion, steamed asparagus and carrots and cranberries, and drizzle the remaining dressing on top.
- Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.