because days like this are few and far between. The flowers from the side flowerbed are making a comeback
which thrills me no end considering that I thought after last years' trampling by the workmen they would surely not survive. Sturdy little critters.
So we sat, read, walked around the garden, admired our flowers,
and of course, dined outdoors...on this magnificent dish from the deteriorating Dining section of The New York Times. I think this one is quite redeeming.
Frutti Di Mare Rice Salad
- 1 1/2 cups short-grain Italian rice, such as Carnaroli or Arborio
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1/2 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 pound cleaned squid, cut in thin rings
- 1 pound small mussels, scrubbed
- 1/2 pound slender green beans
- 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
- Handful of basil leaves, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons finely cut chives
- Bring a gallon of well-salted water to a boil then add rice. Cook for about 15 minutes (as though it were pasta), until al dente. Drain and spread rice on a platter or baking tray to cool.
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine shallot, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar and mustard. Let macerate 5 to 10 minutes, then whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the seafood: Fill a medium saucepan with salted water and bring to a simmer. Add bay leaf and thyme. Add shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until just done, then remove and spread on a plate to cool. Cook squid rings for about 1 minute, then remove and spread on a plate to cool. Finally, simmer mussels in same pot, covered, until shells open, about 2 minutes. Drain and spread on a plate to cool. Remove mussels from shell if desired. (Reserve cooking liquid for another purpose.)
- Cook the green beans: Boil a small amount of salted water (just enough to cover the beans) in a separate low pot or a skillet. Add green beans and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still firm, then drain and cool.
- Put rice in a low salad bowl. Dress with half the vinaigrette and season lightly with salt and pepper; toss well to distribute dressing. Combine green beans and cherry tomatoes, then dress with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette, season lightly and scatter over rice. Arrange shrimp, squid and mussels over the top. Spoon remaining vinaigrette over seafood. Garnish with basil leaves (tear larger leaves into pieces) and sprinkle with chives. Serve salad at room temperature.