Red camargue & wild rice salad with chicken & avocado
Author: Jane Lovett
- 250g red Camargue rice or a mix of red Camargue and wild rice
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of fat
- olive oil
- 4 celery sticks, stringy bits removed, thinly sliced on a deep diagonal
- 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, halved, stoned and diced
- (in their skins)
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
- ½ small red onion (optional), very thinly sliced
- handful coriander, parsley
- or mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 2-3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- nigella seeds
- sea salt flakes
- Greek-style yoghurt, seasoned, to serve (optional)
- For the dressing:
- 75ml olive oil
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Put the rice in a 24cm sauté pan (ideally about 6cm deep), cover with plenty of well-salted water, bring to the boil, cover and cook according to the pack instructions (about 30 mins) until just tender but still a little chewy with some bite.
- Drain, rinse under cold running water, drain again and tip into a bowl lined with kitchen paper to remove excess water. Remove kitchen paper, scraping off any grains that have stuck. Set rice aside in a cool place. Rinse and dry the pan.
- Toast pumpkin seeds in the same dry pan on a medium heat for a few miins until fragrant and beginning to brown. Tip onto a plate and leave to cool.
- Snip both sides of the chicken thighs to stop them curling, then rub all over with a little olive oil and salt. Heat the same pan on a high heat until very hot, then fry chicken for 4-5 mins on each side or until cooked through and golden. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool, then slice into diagonal strips.
- Whisk (or shake) the dressing ingredients together to form an emulsion. Set aside.
- An hour or so before serving, stir a little olive oil, salt and pepper into the rice, then spread over a large platter. Scatter over the celery and arrange the chicken on top, followed by the avocado (removing the diced flesh from the skin as you go), the spring onions, red onion (if using) and toasted pumpkin seeds. Ensure all the components are visible.
- Set aside somewhere cool and just before serving, spoon over the dressing and any juices from the chicken. Scatter with the herbs, pomegranate and nigella seeds and some sea salt flakes. Serve with the seasoned yoghurt (if using).