Zesty Rice Salad with Preserved Lemon, Artichokes and Asparagus

, from Issue #32. August, 2015
Photography by Nick Tresidder.
Zesty Rice Salad with Preserved Lemon, Artichokes and Asparagus

Serves: 6-8


8-12 artichokes or 340 gram jar marinated artichokes, drained
juice of 2 lemons
125ml olive oil
⅛ teaspoon Italian dried herbs

100 grams wild rice
100 grams basmati rice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
30 grams preserved lemon zest, very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
large handful mint leaves, finely shredded
large handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground  pepper
300 grams asparagus, thinly sliced on diagonal
50 grams pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
handful picked watercress 


If using fresh baby artichokes prepare a bowl of ice cold water and add the juice of 1 lemon. Rinse the artichokes well then cut off each stem to about 1.5 cm from the base. Peel back and remove the petals until ⅓ of the cone tip is pale green. Cut off the pale green tip then trim any remaining darker green from the base of the artichoke. Quarter the artichokes and place in the bowl of icy water to prevent discolouration. Drain the artichokes well then place in a pan with about 1 cup water and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until just tender. Drain well and dry the pan out thoroughly.

Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat then add the artichokes and herbs. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, then drizzle over the remaining lemon juice and salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Cook the two types of rice separately, as directed on the packets. Set aside to cool. Combine the oil, lemon zest, preserved lemon, and garlic in a small bowl. Pour over the rice and add the herbs before tossing to combine. Taste and season.

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and cook the asparagus until just tender. Drain, cool under cold running water and drain again. Add the asparagus, pistachios and artichokes to the rice salad. Toss well and season to taste. Scatter with watercress leaves. 

Preserved Lemons: Thin skinned lemons are preserved in salt and lemon juice, sometimes with spices such as cinnimon, and bayleaf. Only the rind is used - the flesh is scraped away and discarded.