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25 mins

Savage Salads
This dish is inspired by a rice-based salad we created for our stall for the autumn and winter months. It’s very easy to make and really tasty and moreish – it’s big enough for dinner, and if you make more than you need (and manage to refrain from eating it there and then), it works as a cold lunch the following day. The red rice we use is from the Carmargue region in the south of France and has quite a nutty flavour. Its texture is slightly chewy, which makes it the perfect rice to put in a salad. If you can’t find Carmargue, just substitute for wild rice or simple brown rice.

Serves 4

Tarragon dressing (see below)

Posted by Creative Publishing international Published See Creative Publishing international's 96 projects » © 2024 Kristina Gustafsson / Quarto · Reproduced with permission. · Recipes and images from Savage Salads: Fierce Flavours, Filling Power-Ups by Davide Del Gatto & Kristina Gustafsson, photography by Kim Lightbody. Published by Frances Lincoln (£16.99).
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.

    Drizzle a little olive oil on the garlic bulb then wrap it in foil and roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then squeeze the garlic from its skin – it should come out quite easily almost as a paste. Discard the skins.

    Rinse the rice well under cold running water, then place in a pan, cover with water, add salt and bring to the boil. Boil for about 30 minutes, or until the grains begin to break up. Drain the cooked rice and set aside. If you’re using another type of rice, follow the instructions on the packet.

    Prepare the wild mushrooms by brushing off any soil with a small, clean paintbrush, then pick them apart into smaller pieces. Girolles can be split in half by holding the mushroom in both hands from the cap and pulling apart.

    The mushrooms need to be cooked quite quickly, so it’s important not to overcrowd the pan.

    To avoid overcrowding, cook the mushrooms in 2 batches. First, heat the butter and a splash of olive oil in a wide frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add the first batch of mushrooms and move them around a bit so they are coated in oil and butter, then cover with a lid for 30 seconds. Remove the cooked mushrooms on to a plate, then repeat with the second batch of mushrooms. Return all the
    cooked mushrooms quickly to the pan. Add the garlic and white wine and season well with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for a further 30 seconds until all the wine has evaporated.

    Pour the mushroom mixture into the wild rice and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.

    To serve, arrange the salad on serving plates and top with a handful of rocket.

  • Step 2


    The sweet aniseed tones of tarragon are a good match for root vegetables. Too much can be overpowering, so using it in a dressing helps strike a beautiful balance.

    - 1 banana shallot, very finely chopped
    - 100ml/3 ½ fl oz/scant ½ cup sherry vinegar
    - 200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    - 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
    - pinch of salt

    Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until combined.
    Leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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