From Too Many Chefs -

June 30, 2004
Grilled chicken and Rice Salad

Grilled chook and rice I have been hankering for a nice light rice salad to bring to work for lunch and so when I made fish the other night I purposely made extra rice and stuck it in the fridge over night. Last night I mixed it with a few fresh and a few canned ingredients and served it with a nice grilled chicken breast. Doesn't it look lovely? I would love to give you the recipe for the chicken breast, but it would consist of "open package of dry rub spices from New Zealand, rub on chicken breast, grill breast on cast-iron ridged grill pan" - not very helpful. Even the description on the dry rub package is unhelpful: salt, spices, pepper are the ingredients. It was lovely, though, a little salty and very peppery and, well, spicy.

However, for the recipe for a nice light rice salad (complete with secret ingredient) I can give you a few good tips.

I had never heard of rice salad until an old friend of mine brought it to a picnic lunch, back in the early days when I first arrived in France. It is a nice mixture, a bit of a change on pasta salads though in a similar vein. The secret ingredient and my favourite part is the sliced hearts of palm. I had never heard of these things, much less tasted them, before coming to France. I love them. I don't know what else to put them in (pasta salad?) but there is usually a can in my cupboard waiting for the day when I want to use up some leftover rice.

French Rice Salad

1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 small can (about a cup) of sweet corn
1 can (a little more than a cup) of hearts of palm, sliced in rounds
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup of cucumber
1/2 cup (or more) of vinaigrette

Canned tuna, flaked or chopped anchovies
Chopped pickles
Chopped fresh or marinated red peppers

The friend who introduced me to this always used the cheapest store-bought vinaigrette and it tasted pretty good. However, I don't usually have store-bought dressing in the fridge so I made up a quick one myself with 1.5 Tbs grain mustard, 3 Tbs sherry vinegar, 1 Tbs chopped frozen "herbs for salad dressing" (available from the Picard stores in France) and 1/2 cup olive oil. Also, tuna is usually included but I'm not a big tuna fan. I got it out of the cupboard this time but tasted the salad before adding it and decided it wasn't necessary.

Mix all the ingredients together and serve. Or better still, make it up the night before and bring it on a picnic the next day. The longer the flavours have to mingle in the fridge the tastier it will be!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at June 30, 2004 6:23 AM | TrackBack

Hearts of palm are great in salads or sliced on top of a pizza with artichoke hearts and spinach.

They go pretty well in Chinese food as a semi-substitute for bamboo.

Posted by Barrett on June 30, 2004 at 9:05 AM

I love hearts of palm, and usually slice them with a bit of lemon, a bit of olive oil, and cracked pepper. Important to rinse them out of the can.

GORGEOUS picture. I love it!

Posted by jen on June 30, 2004 at 10:30 AM

Thanks to both of you for the great suggestions! Barrett, I hadn't noticed until you mentioned the pizza idea, but the hearts of palm are a bit like marinated artichokes in flavour and texture. Jen, you are right - I shouldn't just save them for the one dish that includes them. I'll have to try them on their own in a salad too!

Posted by Meg in Paris on June 30, 2004 at 10:34 AM

Hi Meg, Very nice picture. I love the squares on the chicken. It's not so easy to get them. Have a good week-end.

Posted by Pascale on July 2, 2004 at 11:27 AM

have you ever tried fresh hearts of palm?

there is a company in florida that imports them from their farm in costa rica, i use them at my restaurant all the time.

Posted by Ande on December 30, 2005 at 9:35 AM

have you ever tried fresh hearts of palm?

there is a company in florida that imports them from their farm in costa rica, i use them at my restaurant all the time.

Posted by on December 30, 2005 at 9:47 AM