Summer fare from Food Network chef Bobby Flay. "Similar to a Spanish red rice, this seasoned, tomatoey rice dish is a South Carolinian specialty. Typically served hot, it can be a somewhat heavy side dish in its traditional form. But cooled down with a bright, herbaceous vinaigrette of sweet mint and paired with tender stalks of grilled asparagus, this rice dish is at once altogether lighter than the original and yet satisfying enough, especially with those crisp salty bits of bacon, to be served as a main course for lunch."
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more leaves for garnish
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup clover honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plus 5 tbsp canola oil
6 plum tomatoes
8 oz. slab bacon, cut into small dice
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
2 cups long-grain rice
12 asparagus spears, trimmed
Step 1: Heat your grill to high for direct grilling.
Step 2: Combine the mint, rice vinegar and honey in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in 1/3 cup of the oil until emulsified.
Step 3: Brush the tomatoes with 2 tbsp of the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the tomatoes until charred on all sides and very soft, about 6 minutes.
Step 4: Remove the tomatoes from the grill, halve them and remove the seeds. Put the tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a measuring cup and add enough cold water to make 4 cups of liquid.
Step 5: Heat 1 tbsp of the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato mixture, 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
Step 6: While the rice is cooking, brush the asparagus with the remaining 2 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until just cooked through, about 1-1/2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill, put on a plate and toss with a few tbsp of the mint dressing.
Step 7: Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a platter. Top with the asparagus and drizzle with more of the dressing. Tear some mint leaves over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
See more recipes from Bobby Flay.
Reprinted with permission from Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction (2013 Clarkson Potter).