Summer Rice Salad

Cold, refreshing salads are always welcome on a hot summer day. This one is unique because it uses rice instead of pasta. Great for a picnic, this Summer Rice Salad is quick and easy and has no mayonnaise--which spoils only too easily in the warm sun. I make it up in a huge bowl and hope for leftovers as it stores well in the fridge for a few days. For 8-10 people, you'll need:

2 cups            cooked rice
3 ea.             tomatoes, chopped
1 can             corn, drained
1 can             tuna, drained (or 1 cup chopped ham)
1 cup             cubed gruyère cheese (or Bonbel) or your favorite
10-12 ea.         sliced radishes
1/2 cup           sliced black olives
3-4 ea.           chopped green onion
1/2-1 cups        of your favorite vinegar & oil dressing
2 cloves          garlic, chopped

Once the rice has cooled completely, combine with the remaining salad ingredients. Add enough dressing to moisten and combine thoroughly. Homemade dressing is best. Try 1 cup of olive oil with 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of dijon mustard, fresh chopped parsley and chives and lots of pepper and garlic. How much garlic to put in? As much as you can handle. Serve with hunks of fresh French bread.

This is a version of southern France's Salade Niçoise which uses red skin potatoes instead of the rice with a healthy portion of anchovies, too. If you love those salty little things, throw them in as well. One trick is to mash them up well and add them to the dressing. And as always, a good cook appreciates nature and what it has to offer.