5 tricks for a perfect rice salad

The undisputed queen of summer tables, rice salad can become a fresh gourmet dish. Here are 5 tips to make it truly unique.

Rice salad is the summer dish par excellence: who hasn't eaten it during the summer? It is inviting, easy to prepare and can be kept for a few days in the fridge. It can often become... indigestible, especially if we don't use a few small tricks in its preparation and if we don't choose the right ingredients.

If you want to revolutionise your idea of rice salad, you've come to the right place: today we reveal 5 tricks for a simply perfect dish!

Rice salad: 5 tips to make it memorable

1 - Choosing rice

It is essential to choose the right rice. Experts suggest opting for a cereal that holds up well when cooked. If we want to go classic, we can opt for Carnaroli or Arborio. An interesting alternative, also given the elongated and thin shape of the grain, could be Venus.

If you are aiming for a salad with seafood, venture a Basmati. The latter is fragrant and usually has a very pronounced flavour, not suitable for a classic rice salad. An exotic variant could in any case make it an interesting protagonist.

2 - Cooking

Let's face it: one of the things we really dislike about rice salad is that it too often ends up with a sticky consistency. This defect is due to incorrect cooking and incorrect cooling. Let's see how to get the grains cooked just right. Always rely on the cooking time indicated on the package and as a general rule, never cook rice for more than 15 minutes.

Never rinse rice under cold water: you would totally eliminate the starch. Instead, spread the grains out on a tray or serving dish and shell them with a fork, then leave to cool to room temperature. To speed up the process, you can place the container with the rice in the sink filled with cold water: the process is similar to cooking in a bain-marie, but in reverse. Instead of heating, cool.

The Italian Cuisine proposes a cooking method for real chefs, inspired by CostardiBros, a starred restaurant in Vercelli. The restaurant is a real landmark for rice and risotto lovers. The owners recommend cooking the rice by immersing it in cold water: once it has come to the boil, they suggest proceeding for 30 minutes, then drain, drain and leave to cool. If you follow this technique, remember to choose whole Carnaroli rice and not to salt the water. The long soaking time and cold cooking will give the rice a truly unique taste without the need for added flavours.

3 - Apply the rule of three

One of the strongest temptations when preparing rice salad is to overdo the ingredients. Considered (wrongly) an empty fridge recipe, it ends up being too rich and heavy. To avoid getting it wrong, apply the rule of three: maximum 3 ingredients in addition to rice.

Fresh, freshly blanched vegetables, olives and cheese cubes, for example. Or tuna, cherry tomatoes and Tropea onion. Or eggs, peas and artichokes in oil. If you want to have a perfect ready-made dressing for your rice salad, Po has everything you're looking for: wholesome vegetables, sliced yellowfin tuna and a tasty sauce made of tomatoes, herbs and a dash of oak barrel-aged vinegar. In a word: delicious!

4 - Mayonnaise yes or mayonnaise no?

There are countless schools of thought. Depending on your area of origin, for example, you might consider mayonnaise a necessary ingredient, or on the contrary, outright heresy! Our advice is not to add mayonnaise to freshly prepared rice salad. It is better to incorporate it a day or two after preparation, and only if you are sure that no mayonnaise will be left over.

Storing rice salad dressed with mayonnaise for a long time is not a good idea: this delicious sauce would alter the overall flavours and at the same time the consistency of the dish.

5 - Storage and serving temperature

But should rice salad be eaten lukewarm, cold or straight out of the fridge? The answer is: at room temperature. Fresh, not cold. Let's be clear: as soon as it is ready, it is best to let the rice cool naturally before dressing it, and only when the grains are at room temperature can it be dressed.

The dressing will be light: oil and salt. Diners will add EVO oil or vinegar to taste. The advantage of preparing rice salad is that it will keep for two or three days in the refrigerator. You can prepare a little more and serve it for two or three meals. Before eating it, it is best to take it out of the refrigerator at least half an hour in advance: it will taste better that way.

Now you know how to prepare a perfect rice salad! And you, do you have a particular tip or recipe to share? How do you prepare your rice salad? Post your favourite recipe on Facebook or Instagram and tag Ghiotto Galfrè!