Red Camargue Rice Salad

The days of summer are subtly shortening way too quickly, there is a little nip in the air and the sky is clearly beautifully blue. I do relish the prospect of autumn, it's one of my favourite times of year and there is some lovely produce around too. Still too warm for most dishes and frankly, making a stew now would be utterly depressing as winter looms. Salads are wonderful, versatile bowls of happiness. Ever present on our table, I am always looking for new and interesting combinations, especially for grain or pulse based salads. They often need a lot more seasoning as they tend to soak up every bit of dressing and also change once refrigerated. This is a little cracker of a salad, intensely flavoured and sooo moreish. It is inspired by a puttanesca sauce and uses lots of rich ingredients. The dressing can be adapted to your taste and if you're feeling bold, add some marinated anchovies.


1 cup red camargue rice
half a small red onion
250g or punnet cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp capers
5-8 black olives
small bunch flat leafed parsley
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
juice of half a lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring rice to the boil in two cups of water and a pinch of salt, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, the rice should be cooked with a slight bite not mushy. Rinse well in cold water, drain and set aside.  Chop onion and quarter the tomatoes, put into a bowl with the drained rice. Remove the pips from the olives and cut flesh into quarters, add to the mix. Rinse capers if they have been stored in brine or salt and chop roughly, add them together with the garlic and chopped flat leaf parsley into the bowl. Dress with vinegar, lemon juice and a good few glugs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix all together very well without crushing the tomatoes. I always find fingers work best.