Photo by Alex Lau
Pickle brine lends a distinctive tang to the rice, giving the whole dish a nice, lively jolt. This recipe can work with any kind of pickling liquid, even the ordinary stuff from a jar of pickles or cornichons (we tested it with a few kinds). If brown rice isn’t your thing, use another grain: Try barley, farro, or freekeh.
- 4 servings
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
- 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/2 serrano, chopped
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil (optional)
- Rice and assembly:
- 1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice
- 1 (2×2") piece dried kombu (optional)
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup pickle brine, divided
- 1/2 cup finely chopped tender herbs (such as cilantro, parsley, dill, and/or tarragon)
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Cook garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft enough to easily smash against the side of the pan, 12–15 minutes. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, toast pumpkin seeds on a large rimmed baking sheet on upper rack, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
- Blend cilantro, pumpkin seeds, chile, lime juice, pumpkin seed oil (if using), and garlic oil (with garlic) until smooth. Add a big pinch of salt and blend again.
- Rice and assembly:
- Place rice in a sieve or colander and rinse under running water until water runs clear (this removes surface starch and keeps rice from getting gummy). Combine rice, kombu (if using), and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; season with salt and let sit 20 minutes.
- Bring rice to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pan and cook until rice is tender, 30–35 minutes (you can also use a rice cooker; follow instructions for correct timing). Remove pan from heat and let sit (still covered) 15 minutes; fluff rice with a fork.
- Transfer warm rice to a large bowl and stir in 1/4 cup brine. Let rice cool completely, then toss in herbs, oil, lemon zest and juice, and remaining 1/4 cup brine; season with salt and pepper. Serve with sauce drizzled over.
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