In 2012 I jumped in a big jet plane and after 24 long hours, found my self in beautiful Lyon, France. I spent the next 6 months living with a gorgeous family, going to school, making unforgettable friends and of course eating far too much cheese and my weight in baguettes. Here’s a picture of me about halfway through my French odessey – the effect of the excess baguettes, buerre et bonbons is evident. Since this picture was taken I’ve lost approximately 10kg but my love of France & food remain.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is an Aussie take on a classic salade de riz. My host mum Sophie always put tuna, hard-boiled eggs and olives in her delicious dish. She also makes the best sauce de salade (dressing) by mixing a dash of this and a dash of that. Unfortunately I’ve never managed to replicate it. Rice salad will forever remind me of warm spring and summer outdoor lunches with the people I now consider my French family.
Now to my own spin on this classic French spring favourite. Instead of trying to replicate Sophie’s salade de riz I’ve reimagined it for an Australian spring (and my own taste buds). My salad was made with brown rice, dressed with a mustard-balsamic concoction and topped with homegrown, balsamic marinated beef (I’ll post about this shortly).
I’ve used quite a lot of balsamic in the recipe, if you aren’t a fan you could use a different or no marinade on your steak or sub balsamic for red wine vinegar in the dressing. The rice salad will serve 4-5 people as a side or provide 3-4 main meals when topped with the balsamic steak. If you are cooking for one, ½ cup of salad topped with half a steak makes a lovely light lunch or add some more salad for a more substantial dinner. For an Asian twist, use the balsamic steak, as spoonful of rice salad and salad greens to make lunch-box-friendly rice paper rolls.The recipe was adapted from Taste, Meilleur du Chef and Marmiton.
For the Salade de Riz…
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- ½ zucchini, grated
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- ½ cucumber, diced
- ½ capsicum, diced
- 1 can corn drained or 2 ears fresh corn
- 4 slices reduced or low fat cheddar, diced
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- Handful of olives (optional)
- Balsamic steak (recipe below)
- Balsamic-Mustard Dressing (recipe below)
- Combine rice with all vegetables and cheese except the cherry tomatoes. This can be done prior to serving.
- Just before serving, pour Balsamic-Mustard dressing over salad and ‘fatigue’ (toss) the salad. ‘Fatigue la salade’ literally means to tire the salad or just to ensure that the dressing is thoroughly combined with the salad.
- Top your well-fatigued salad with cherry tomatoes and Balsamic Steak. Enjoy!
For the Balsamic-Mustard Dressing…
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic
- 1 tbsp Maille mustard
- Measure all ingredients into a glass jar, put the lid on (tightly!) and shake until combined. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to dress your salad.
For the Balsamic Steak…
- 2 150/200g rump steaks
- 4-5 sprigs thyme or other fresh herbs
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Combine the fresh herbs, balsamic and olive oil in a glass or ceramic bowl.
- Toss steak in mix and allow to marinade for at least 30minutes.
- Remove from fridge and allow about 10minutes for your steak to reach room temperature. Cook in a hot-medium pan or on the barbeque until cooked to your liking. I used Meat and Livestock Australia’s free ‘Steak Mate’ app which is available for Apple and Android.