Camargue red rice salad

I’ve used a couple of moderately unusual ingredients in this salad. Camargue rice comes from a beautiful mosquito-infested region of France, and I’ve heard it’s technically not really ‘rice’ but that’s what they call it. It has a brilliant nutty taste and can be found in supermarkets (well, Waitrose in Bath at any rate).

Dukkah spice is something I’d never heard of until I saw it on a menu in a swanky pub restaurant a couple of months ago. Then I went in Sainsbury’s and it turns out they actually have their own brand version of it, so it’s either the latest trendy ingredient or something really common that completely passed me by. Anyway, it’s sort of crunchy, with a taste of coriander seeds and dried garlic, and works well in all sorts of salads. Including this one.
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Giant couscous tabbouleh

I decided to make this tabbouleh with giant couscous, which doesn’t really bear much resemblance to normal couscous. The grains are like little pearls, retaining some bite after cooking, and they’re prepared via braising rather than just pouring boiling water over the top, so they have a lovely toasted flavour. For a more correct tabbouleh, use just bulgur wheat (which is also included here for bulk, as it’s much cheaper and easier to find than giant couscous).
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Smoked mozzarella rice salad

This is a salad I used to make with scamorza cheese, which is a kind of rubbery smoked mozzarella. I haven’t made it for years, since my local supermarket stopped stocking the stuff (probably to make space for yet another variety of cheddar) but I recently found a deli that sells something similar.

The smoked mozzarella I bought came in a big bag of water and has a similar texture to ordinary mozzarella, so it isn’t exactly like scamorza but it makes a very good stand-in. Use whichever one you can get your hands on.
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Raw beetroot and carrot salad

Uncooked beetroot doesn’t have to be as tough as old boots. Grated finely enough, I think it actually tastes a lot better than when it’s cooked – subtly sweet, fresh and very earthy, with a lovely crunchy/chewy texture.

It’s a perfect match for carrots and assorted nutty seeds. This recipe has a sweet and tangy dressing that sets it all off very nicely.

Top tip – grate the beetroot in the sink, unless you want your kitchen to look like a murder scene.
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