Now that summer has come and Italy is swallowed by heat, there are some limitations to what you can and want to eat on a hot day.
Often you’re not even that hungry. At least, I’m not. I, generally, like to eat light and fresh, which includes vegetables and fruit. But meals need a little bit of substance, because you simply can’t live on just vegetables and fruit.
Hence, the rice salad. Simple, tasty and ideal in hot weather. Suitable for both lunch and dinner.
Ingredients: 4 servings
250-300 grams of rice (any kind you like)
15-20 cherry tomatoes (preferably local ones and as sweet as possible)
2 tbsp of capers
1 can of tuna
A couple of ansjovis (if you like)
A handful of olives (without the stone)
4 very small sweet peppers, or 1 big one(colour is up to you)
Half an onion (sliced very thinly)*
Fresh parsley (at least a handful, but two is better)
Fresh basil (a couple of leaves)
2 tbsp of oregano
Optional: 1 can of corn
*if you don’t have onions with a sweeter flavour, it’s maybe better to leave it out.
1.Boil the rice in water and add some salt to this water. The rice should really be al dente, not too cooked, so cook it less than the cooking time advised on the package.
2.Meanwhile, if you have capers that are under salt, it’s best to take them out of the pot and put them in a glass of water to get rid of extensive salt (let them soak there for 10 min). If not, you can skip this step.
3.Cut the tomatoes in small cubes, slice the peppers very thinly, just like the onion, and chop the parsley up into little pieces and rip the basil with your hands.
4.When the rice is done, you can put it in a sieve and rinse it with cold water. Leave it there for a couple of minutes and then take a big bowl. Put the rice inside and add the tomatoes, the herbs, the capers, the peppers, the tuna, ansjovis, olives and onion to it. You can add the corn as well if you like. It’s not very traditional, but I like it. Mix it well.
5.Add a good amount of olive oil. This is of course up to your taste, but don’t be shy. Mix it again.
6.Taste to see if it’s salty enough. Considering the capers, olives and ansjovis, probably it is, but always check. If it’s good, then cover the bowl with either foil, a plate or a towel and put it in the fridge, until you’d like to serve it.
(In Italy this is not viewed as an entire meal (at least not in our house). Often there are other plates of vegetables added to this)
Vega(n) option: You can also leave out the fish and used boiled egg(s) instead. You can also use nuts and seeds instead, but the flavours will be very different. Different doesn’t mean bad though.
Enjoy your fresh summer salad. Leftovers can easily be kept until the next day (for lunch maybe) when you put the salad covered in the fridge.
From Italy with love,
p.s. Changing some of the ingredients to your taste is possible. Of course you should always include the rice, the tomatoes, a generous amount of fresh and dried herbs and olive oil.
p.p.s. Most of the recipes on this blog are not my own creation, but that of my beloved Italian food fascist. I can only take credit for some of the cooking (only some), but not for the creative part, as Davide is a much better cook than me.