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Black Rice, Plum, and Cherry Salad

Black Rice, Plum, and Cherry Salad

Renée Robinson

And It’s Topped with Crispy Breadcrumbs!

If you’ve never eaten black rice, this is a great place to start. I love it because it’s chewy and a little nutty in flavor, which makes it great for salads. When it cooks it ends up being a beautiful deep purple color that I thought would lend itself well to being combined with sliced plums and cherries.

Cooked Black Rice

After giving it some thought, I decided to make some crispy breadcrumbs in olive oil as a topping. And seeing as how I had the sweet element from the fruits, I opted for a salty topping by cooking anchovies with the breadcrumbs, along with a little lemon zest for freshness. I don’t know about you, but I could easily eat these breadcrumbs by the spoonful. After they’ve cooked they don’t scream with anchovy flavor. They just taste salty and rich.

Anchovy Breadcrumbs

After spreading the rice out on a sheet pan in order to let it cool, I whisked  together a simple dressing of lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, white wine vinegar, a little sugar, olive oil and seasoning. I then mixed it with the rice, along with some sliced scallions, the fruit and crumbled queso fresco. 

Closeup of Black Rice, Plum, and Cherry Salad
Black Rice, Plum, and Cherry Salad

All that was left to do was to top it with the breadcrumbs and chopped toasted hazelnuts. Holy cow, was this fantastic. I served it with some simple grilled lamb chops and we couldn’t get enough of it. I hope you’ll give this a try. As I’ve made clear in my other posts, this is my kind of meal – a simple protein served with an exciting salad is my idea of a perfect meal.

Black Rice, Plum, and Cherry Salad

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Black Rice, Plums, Cherries, Scallions, Queso Fresco, and Hazelnuts go into this amazing salad. Then for the icing on the cake, I top it with anchovy flavored breadcrumbs. You've gotta taste this to believe it.

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  • 1/2 pound hearty bread, torn into rough pieces

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1/3 cup, divided

  • 2 ounce tin anchovies, drained and chopped

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • Black pepper, coarsely ground

  • 1 1/2 cups black rice

  • 2 3/4 cups water

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • Black pepper, freshly ground

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries, cut in half

  • 3 plums, pitted and sliced into 1/2 inch wedges

  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

  • 3 ounces queso fresco, crumbled


  • Blitz the bread in a food processor until coarsely ground. You don’t want fine breadcrumbs. Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the anchovies and cook for about 2 minutes, until the’ve almost dissolved into the oil. Add the breadcrumbs, toss and stir until golden brawn and crisp, adding the zest of the lemon during the last minute of cooking. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Set aside.
  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. In a large saucepan, combine the black rice, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Cook for 30 - 35 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, but keep the cover on the pan and let steam for 10 minutes. Spread the rice out onto a sheet pan and let cool to room temperature.
  • Whisk together the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, white wine vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, plenty of black pepper and 1/3 cup olive oil. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the rice, scallions, hazelnuts, and queso fresco. Gently stir in the dressing, leaving behind about 1/4 cup.
  • Add the plums and cherries to the rice mixture, taste for seasoning and place on a platter. Drizzle on the remaining dressing and top with the breadcrumbs (you won’t need all of them). Enjoy!

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