Mexican Rice Salad
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup long-grain brown rice
1 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons green chilies, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
5 ears of fresh sweet corn, shucked
24 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 1/2teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
3 tablespoons fresh oregano (do not substitute dried)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook the rice: Place the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over moderately low heat. Add the shallots and half the garlic. Stir for 1 minute, then add the rice. Stir until each grain glistens, then add the tomatoes, green chilies, and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir once, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let the rice cook for 30 minutes (follow the directions on the rice package if the timing varies from ours). Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes.
2. While the rice is cooking, steam the corn and the mussels. Scatter the mussels over the corn on a steamer in a large pot containing an inch of hot water. Put the pot on a high flame and cover it. After 5 minutes, remove the corn and any mussels whose shells have opened. Cover the pot again, and after another 5 minutes remove the remaining mussels. Discard any mussels that are not open or do not open easily.
3. If using fresh corn, cut the corn kernels off the cobs. Place corn kernels in a large bowl. Add the cumin, red onion, remaining garlic, cilantro, fresh oregano, olive oil and lime juice. Toss gently. Add the cooked rice and toss thoroughly but gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard a half shell of each mussel, and set the remaining mussels on the half shell in the bottom of a serving bowl. Lay the rice over the top. Using a large spoon, raise the mussels gently by scooping from the bottom so that some of the rice falls to the bottom. Chill, covered, for at least 2 hours. Fluff with a fork before serving.
We suggest using a long-grain brown rice for this refreshing summer dinner entree, or anytime lunch. The bran that remains on brown rice serves to keep the grains separate; stickiness is the last texture you want in a rice salad. Serves 4 as a lunch main course