This is a favourite at home and relies on some pantry basics plus a few fresh things. I came up with this on a cold, rainy day, but I was craving the delicious tang and saltiness of a Greek salad. This dish has the elements of this, but with baked warm buttery rice - hence its name. It turns out, like most things we think we discover or invent, this dish has a name and rich history of its own. So this is a version of spanakorizo with a few extras.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 400 g can cherry tomatoes
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, roughly chopped
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, torn
- ¼ cup chopped dill
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 zucchini, grated
- ½ tsp salt
- 100 g butter
- 400 g (2 cups) long grain rice
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 60 g Taleggio (or camembert or mozzarella), thinly sliced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
- For the rice, heat the oil in a shallow, heavy-based dish or oven proof frying pan over medium heat (see note). Add the onion and cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and zucchini and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Add the salt, butter and rice and stir until the butter has melted and fully coated the rice. Add the stock and stir to combine well. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the rice from the oven and place the sliced taleggio over the top in a single layer. Bake for another 5 minutes or until melted.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic and cook just until golden. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, season well and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the cucumber, olives, chopped herbs, vinegar and a good drizzle of oil in a bowl and toss to combine.
- To serve, top the rice with the tomato sauce, then the salad.
- I used a 25 cm round cast iron dish to cook the rice, but a roasting tray or frying pan would work fine as long as it fits into the oven.
Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.
Photography by Adam Liaw.