Roasted Onion and Wild Rice Salad
Sauteed asparagus and roasted onion salad with balsamic vinegar makes a delightful flavor contrast to the wild rice cooked with cherries, cranberry juice and apple cider.
4 lb. fresh asparagus
3⁄4 cup walnut oil
4 1⁄2 lb. small red onions
Olive oil, kosher salt, and cracked pepper, as needed
1⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
For Wild Rice:
3⁄4 cup dried cherries
6 tbsp. port wine
Hot water, as needed
2 1⁄2 cups wild rice
1 1⁄2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup apple cider
3⁄4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Trim and peel asparagus. Heat oil in sauté pan, add asparagus and sauté until
tender-crisp. Remove from pan and plunge into ice water.
2. Leaving skin on, cut onions into quarters, with root ends trimmed but still intact to hold quarters together. Rub onions with olive oil and dust with salt and pepper. Spread quarters out on sheet pan. Roast at 375°F for 30 min., or until tender but not too soft. Cool and peel. Coat asparagus and onions with balsamic and sherry vinegars, allowing them to marinate at least 1 hr.
3. Cover cherries with port. Add 1⁄4 cup hot water; let stand 5 min. Rinse rice well, place in saucepan and add 2 cups water. Add cranberry juice, cider and sherry-port mixture. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hr., stirring occasionally or until rice has absorbed the liquid and is still slightly chewy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Per order, press warm rice mixture into a 4-oz. mold and invert into center of plate. Arrange 4 onion quarters around rice and weave 8 asparagus spears in circle over and around onions. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. pine nuts.