As a food photographer, I often end up with leftover ingredients from shoots and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do with them. In cases like this I usually turn to my electronic copy of How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (which is available at the app store). I use this app constantly. One of the great features is that in addition to having hundreds of great recipes, Bittman gives tons of alternatives and variations for each recipe, so you can craft your own recipes from his basic instructions. This is really helpful when trying to find ways to use up stuff that you already have on hand.
In this case, I did a quick search for dried apricots, and came up with this recipe for Dried Apricot and Almond Rice Salad. Rice salad? Sure, why not. It’s similar to a couscous or other whole grain salad. The really interesting thing about this recipe was the ground coriander, which is a spice that I don’t use very much – I was actually a little surprised to find whole coriander seeds in my spice cabinet (which I ground up myself).
Dried Apricot and Almond Rice Salad
3-4 cups cooked rice (about 1 cup dried)
1 cup chopped apricots
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 small shallot, cut into medium sized chunks
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Add rice, apricots, almonds and scallions to a bowl and toss carefully with two forks. Add the olive oil and vinegar to a blender and pulse until emulsified. Add the scallion to the blender and pulse until it is chopped into fine pieces. Pour this vinaigrette onto the rice mixture and carefully stir to coat. Sprinkle the spices along with salt and pepper to taste onto the mixture and stir to combine. Right before serving, toss the cilantro into the salad, check for seasoning. Serve at room temperature.