A healthy and tasty salad full of home-grown seasonal beans – a real taste of summer!
The main ingredient however, is smoked trout – a fish rich in omega-3 (and kind on the digestion). It sits on a bed of nutty and chewy whole grain red rice and is offset with fresh and creamy avocado, well known for its health benefits (containing high levels of vitamin E, iron and potassium) . The avocado is also said to help lower cholesterol thanks to its mono-unsaturated fats. Toasted and flaked almonds – also nutritionally rich – add a finishing crunch to the salad.
Make the rice. I’ve used red rice – but any type of rice would work. Red rice has the germ intact so retains more nutrients than polished rice. Wash the rice in several changes of water and drain for 5 minutes. In a thick-bottomed pan with a lid add one tablespoon of olive oil and heat on a medium high heat. Add the rice and fry for 5 minutes – stirring all the time. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and measure 390ml of water – pour this over the rice and stir. Fit the lid tightly over the pan and set the heat to the lowest. Cook for about 20 – 25 minutes (depending on the rice used). Turn off the heat and let the rice rest and steam for a further 10 minutes. Squeeze over half a lemon on the rice and stir. Spread the rice over an oven tray or platter and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
(Optional tip: Cook a handful of green or puy lentils in a pan of water together with a peeled shallot cut in half and a small raw beetroot cut in half (water level just to the top of the beetroot and shallot). Simmer for 20 minutes until the lentils are tender. Strain, reserving the cooking liquid. Peel the beetroot and put the trimmings and the shallot back into the pan of liquid – bring to the boil and reduce to a thick syrup and strain. Chop the beetroot and add to the rice along with the reduced liquid.)
Boil the beans. Wash, trim and cut the beans in half. Boil in plenty of salted water until tender but still firm. Immediately plunge into cold water until cooled. Drain and set aside.
Prepare the avocado. Scoop out halves of avocado and cut into cubes. Cover with lemon juice to avoid discolouration and set aside.
Toast the almonds. Put the almonds into a nonstick frying pan and toss over a high heat until evenly browned. Sprinkle the almonds onto a large plate to cool.
Prepare the leaves. Chop any thick stalks from the watercress and then rinse all the salad leaves and spin dry.
Prepare the trout. Break the trout into pieces, feel for bones and remove.
Make the dressing. Use a proportion of 1 part lemon to 3 parts good olive oil and mix. Season to taste.
Serve. On individual plates or a large platter – spread out even layers of salad leaves, then add a layer of rice, a layer of beans, followed by the trout. Finally, add the avocado and then the toasted almonds. Serve with the lemon dressing. I added a sprinkling of black sesame seeds for effect…