On the holiday of Purim, I am channeling Queen Esther. This is a delicious dish she might have served using ingredients that tell her story. The rice represents the Jewish community, diverse and separate, stronger when united. The green fragrant dill evokes spring, the season in which the drama unfolds. The scallions remind us of the rapscallion Haman. Bursting out of their shells, the pistachios embody Esther, bursting out of her comfort zone to become the queen and then to save her people. The barberries symbolize the king’s signet ring with its political power, given first to Haman and later to Mordecai. Serve with spiralized zucchini because, well, the story and its outcome spirals.
Adapted from Adeena Sussman’s book, Sababa
Ingredients to serve 4 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill 2 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup barberries (or cranberries)
1/3 cup toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped 1/4 cup toasted almonds, slivered
Zest of 1 lemon ¾ teaspoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a glass bowl, rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
- In a large saucepan, bring the rice, the coarse sea salt and 2 1/4 cups water to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice has absorbed all the water, 16-17 minutes.
- Uncover the rice and stir in the scallions, dill, barberries (or cranberries), almonds, pistachios and lemon zest with the olive oil, fine sea salt to taste, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Sprinkle the sumac and some magic on top and serve with blanched, spiralized zucchini (below).
Spiralized Blanched Zucchini
- Fill a medium-sized pot about 3/4 full with water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil.
- Use a hand or table spiralizer to spiralize the zucchini.
- When water is roiling boiling, drop the spiralized zucchini in. When it floats to the top (this should take about 30 seconds) it is done. Use a wire mesh skimmer to remove it. Serve.
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