A healthy first course or lunch idea from cookbook author James Peterson. "I was skeptical the first time I saw a recipe similar to this one in an old French cookbook, but one afternoon I gathered all the ingredients and decided to give it a try. It's a fantastic and unusual salad. This salad is interesting enough to serve as a first course, but you can also serve it as a side dish."
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
12 baby artichokes, trimmed, or 1 (9-oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained, or 1 (8-oz.) jar artichoke hearts
1 tbsp lemon juice (only if using fresh artichokes)
1 cup cooked long-grain rice, preferably basmati
1 (1/8"-thick) slice cooked ham, cut into 1/8" cubes, or 2 cooked boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup cooked fresh baby peas or thawed and drained frozen peas
8 oz. small mushrooms, thinly sliced
20 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar, good-quality balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh basil or other herbs
Step 1: Soak the raisins in 1/2 cup cold water for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Drain.
Step 2: If you're using fresh baby artichokes, simmer them in a non-aluminum pot with the lemon juice and enough water to cover by 2" until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, let cool, and cut in half from top to bottom.
Step 3: Chop the basil leaves.
Step 4: Combine the raisins, artichokes, rice, ham, peas, mushrooms, basil, oil and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Decorate with the sprigs of herbs. Pass at the table or serve in mounds on individual plates.
See more recipes from James Peterson.
Reprinted with permission from James Peterson's Vegetables, Revised (2012 Ten Speed Press).