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Persian Rice Salad with Cherries

Persian-style rice salad with cherries

PT20M

British cherries at this time of year are absolutely delectable, so sweet and juicy, hands down my favourite fruit! I’m working them into all manner of savoury dishes and salads as well as sweet ones. This salad has fast become a summer favourite – it’s sweet and tangy, thanks to the cherries and pomegranate molasses, crunchy and refreshing thanks to the cucumber and fresh herbs, and wholesome and satiating thanks to the wholegrain rice.

We enjoyed it most recently with charred aubergine, tahini sauce and some spicy fermented turnip – a truly delectable al fresco dinner! It’s a great one if you are having guests over as it can be fully made in advance. In fact this is a little tastier, as the rice will absorb more of the dressing, and any juices that will seep from the cherries.

1
To begin, cover the rice with cold water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 18–22 minutes, until cooked
2
Drain the rice through a sieve or colander and rinse with a little cold water. Allow the steam to billow off as much as possible, to avoid a heavy salad
3
While the rice is cooling, combine the onion, cherries, sumac, pomegranate molasses and olive oil in a bowl. Add a generous amount of sea salt and mix well
4
Chop the baby cucumbers into thin rounds; (if you are using a regular cucumber perhaps remove it’s watery core). Finely chop the herbs
5
In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, cucumber, herbs, toasted pine nuts and the cherry and onion medley along with all the juice and dressing. Toss gently and the transfer to a serving dish
6
Garnish with some dill, and some za’atar, and finally squeeze over the juice of half a lemon to brighten that first mouthful

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