Hetty McKinnon and I haven’t met yet but we’ve bonded, whether she knows it or not. We’re salad sisters, united in the belief that salad is so much more than lettuce. Salad is an opportunity to give each season’s fresh vegetables and fruits the love they deserve, to enhance them with a defining hint of acidity from a squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar, gild them with a drizzle of tahini or olive oil, toss them with cooked beans and grains for a satisfying chew, sprinkle in a smack of spice, add a confetti of fresh tarragon, cilantro, mint or whatever herb is in your garden and maybe some avocado, nuts or olives — healthy fats with a lux mouthfeel. Okay, we’re a little passionate about salads. It’s not a bad thing.
Hetty and I also share a passion for the way a meal offers the chance to bring different people together and create community I do it through EatWith dinners, on the page in my columns and in my posts and in my book Feeding the Hungry Ghost. Hetty does it with Arthur Street Kitchen and her wonderful cookbooks Neighborhood and Community, which help demystify the whole kitchen experience and coax you in there with recipes of dishes you really want to eat. She also does it as publisher and editor of Peddler her journal devoted to “the in-between moments of food,” cold watermelon and soggy, sandy sandwiches at the beach, mystery casseroles at potluck dinners, standing around the backyard grill, wreathed in smoke, getting batter-splashed making Sunday morning pancakes with your kids, watching my dad eat the plum cake I made for him for Father’s Day. They’re all part of the quiet but profound role food has in shaping our sense of community, family and self. They’re what binds us to each other.
I’m so proud to feature Hetty in My Favorite People, My Favorite Recipes. I have a feeling she’ll become your salad sister, too.
Provençal Grain Salad with Green Beans and Lemon-Parsley OilFrom Neighborhood by Hetty McKinnon © 2016 by Hetty McKinnon. Photography © 2016 by Luisa Brimble. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com
- ½ cup 100 g Camargue red rice
- 1 cup 200 g brown rice
- ½ cup 100 g quinoa (white, red, or a mix), rinsed
- ½ cup 100 g coarse bulgur wheat (cracked wheat)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ lb 200 g green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 in (2 cm) pieces
- One half 15 oz can 250 g chickpeas (about 1 cup), drained and rinsed
- 12 pitted green olives
- 3 tablespoons finely sliced green onions
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons walnuts toasted and crushed
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 small garlic clove very finely chopped
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil or other neutral oil like grapeseed
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Camargue red rice: wild rice black rice
- Add the red and brown rice to a saucepan with 6 cups (1.5 liters)of water and a big pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and bring to aboil over a medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook for 15–20 minutes, until the grains are soft and all the water has been absorbed (if there is any water left at this point, simply drain it away). If you prefer, you can cook this in a rice cooker instead.
- Combine the quinoa and bulgur wheat and cook them in 2 cups (500 ml) of salted water until soft, draining off any remaining water as before. Leave the mixture to sit in the hot saucepan for 5–10 minutes to dry out and fluff up.
- Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over a high heat, add the beans, and fry with a pinch of salt for 4–5 minutes until tender and starting to brown. Leave to cool.
- To make the lemon-parsley oil, add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt to a mortar and pound together with a pestle to form a rough paste. Add the parsley and pound until the leaves are broken down and the paste is green, then stir in the oils and lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Combine the red rice, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, chickpeas, green beans, green olives, green onion, and parsley in a big bowl and stir well, then season with salt and pepper. To serve, scatter over the walnuts and drizzle over the lemon-parsley oil.