After so much rain, it’s hard to know whether to be grateful or to rage at a capricious Mother Nature. Eventually, the rain stops, the clouds part, the sun comes up, and we’re left to wonder why we ever thought we were in control. We pick up the fallen branches, and we survey the damage, and we reach out to help our neighbors, and we carry on. It feels frivolous to talk recipes now, yet there’s nothing more life-affirming and community-validating than food. And with crops lost, equipment damaged, animals displaced, our farmers need us now more than ever. Let’s all buy what they’ve got, find a simple way to make it sustaining and delicious, and let them know we aren’t going anywhere. Every bite is gratitude. Every bite is an affirmation.
Mango & Brown Rice Salad with Herbs & Fried Shallots
3 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 c coconut oil
3 stalks lemongrass, outer layers peeled away, inner cored sliced and smashed in a mortar and pestle or minced to a paste
2 c cooked brown rice
1 mango, peeled and cubed
3 green onions, sliced
2 small red peppers (such as Fresno), seeded and julienned
1 handful cilantro, washed, stemmed, and chopped
1 small bunch mint, washed and stemmed, leaves left whole
1 small bunch basil, washed and stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped
Heat coconut oil in a small skillet until it shimmers. Add sliced shallots, and fry, stirring, until they are golden brown. When the shallots are almost done, toss in the lemongrass and finish cooking, then remove pan from the heat and let cool slightly,
In a large bowl, combine rice, mango, green onions, peppers, cilantro, mint, and basil. Season to taste with salt and pour cooled oil and shallot mixture over all. Squeeze one of the limes over the salad and toss gently. Cut the second lime in quarters and serve with lime wedges.