We had a first impression experience one Ferragosto holiday in Rome, August 15. The city practically shuts down in a national holiday when many locals are already vacationiing in the traditional August period and those who remain at least exit the city for the day. We found this little lunch early supper delicatessen a few blocks from our summer rental apartment, and tried several memorable rice/pasta salads, one of which was a black rice with baby shrimps. Many years later we are spontaneously invited to a dinner party on a rooftop terrace overlooking the park in front of our local piazza, by our inherited landlady after her cousin passed away earlier that year leaving her properties behind. We don't get to take anything with us in our final exit. But in contrast with the child woman we had gotten to know over a decade of her sorrows and eventual decline of old age, Ornella was a delightful lady about a decade ahead of e in the age game but still very much alive.
At her rooftop dinner party attended by an eclectic group of well-to do Romans who welcomed us warmly, Ornella had thrown together a black rice and strawberry salad that we really liked, so much so that we attempted our own version shortly afterwards at "home" across the piazza. There is no secret recipe, or preferred list of optional ingredients. There are many ways one can go with this from simple to a more complex array of ingredients. The basic idea is to give it an initial try since it is virtually unknown here in the "New World." And the added bonus: black rice is whole grain, very healthy. The down side is you have to boil it 45 minutes and cool it down in ice water for this recipe, but that is just a matter of waiting it out, starting early, say. Can do.
We had some black rice from Whole Foods sitting around for quite some time before the inspiration hit us to be creative. Not sure where in the world it comes from, probably not Northern Italy which supplies our friends in Rome and elsewhere in the boot. Okay, read the box bob. Venere black rice. Authentic stuff it seems.