Grilled Peach & Volcano Rice Pilaf
Two things I'm super stoked about. Local organic peaches are now available, and I found the bottle of Espresso Balsamic Vinegar from Salt & Olive I was gifted over the holidays. Our peach trees still have a couple of years to go before we can expect to begin harvesting, so I'm always happy when I can find local peaches from other growers. This has been my summer for expanding my repertoire of seasonal applications of fruit, and I have been eagerly anticipating peach season to showcase this amazing balsamic vinegar. I have tasted nothing even close to this vinegar... ever.
My early childhood was spent in Ft. Worth, TX. In deference to my earliest food memories, I paired these local NH peaches with toasted pecans in this delightfully different pilaf. I've also been experimenting with a wide variety of whole grains. This volcano rice by Lotus Foods caught my eye because it meets several of my standards. It's organically grown, fair trade, 100% whole grain and gluten-free.
What exactly is volcano rice? It's rice that has been grown in mineral-rich volcanic soil. Lotus Foods partners with the small family farmers of the Simpatik Organik Cooperative in Tasikmalya, West Java, Indonesia. Conventional rice farming uses a ton of fresh water to produce and draining the fields releases a considerable amount of methane. These family farmers use System of Rice Intensification (SRI) practices which require a lot less water and seeds. Crop yields are 3x higher and drained fields emit little to no methane... all better for us and the environment! At nearly twice the price of organic long grain brown rice (if you purchase in bulk), is it worth the extra cost?
To answer this question, I flip to the nutrition profile and do a side-by-side comparison to organic long grain brown rice. The volcano rice contains less fat (0g/serving vs. 1.5g), less sugar (0g/serving vs 1.5g), slightly more protein (6g/serving vs 5g) but less fiber (1g/serving vs 2.6g). These are all rather negligible differences. The scale begins to tip much more notably when you compare the mineral contents. Organic long grain brown rice will give you 5% of your daily requirement of iron (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) and only trace amounts of any other minerals.
The organic volcano rice on the other had, will provide the following of your daily requirements (based on a 2,000 calorie diet):
~ 60% manganese
~ 20% phosphorous
~ 2% selenium
~ 10% iron
~ 20% magnesium
~ 10% molybdenum
~ 8% zinc
Getting your daily requirements of nutrients from whole foods has several benefits over relying on a supplement: namely the synergistic effects of whole food compounds, essential fiber and protective substances such as phytochemicals (source). Whenever possible, I'd rather spend my money on whole foods than on pills and know that I am supporting family farmers using sustainable practices.
These peaches are perfect!
You can cut them in half and grill them cut side down over smoky charcoal for 4-5 minutes if you'd like, but for this dish it's not necessary. The Espresso balsamic vinegar carries the flavors beautifully.
These peaches were grilled on a cast iron grate. You can use a stainless steel grate for more delicate grill marks.
Total Time: 40 minutes Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
For 4 servings, you will need:
1 cup organic volcano rice (I purchase in bulk here)
1 3/4 cups water
pinch of salt
2 fresh med/lg peaches, pitted & chunked
1/4 cup plain pecans, toasted
2 Tbsp chives, chopped on the bias (see photo)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or summer savory (optional)
2 T orange juice
Cracked black pepper to taste
2-3 tsp Salt & Olive Espresso Balsamic Vinegar
1. Combine the water, rice and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for several minutes.
2. While the rice cooks, wash and chop the peaches. Set aside.
3. Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then coarsly chop and set aside.
4. Wash, dry and cut the chives, rosemary and/or summer savory (if using). Set aside.
5. When rice is ready, add the orange juice, black pepper, fresh herbs (reserve a bit for sprinkling on top) and pecans. Toss gently. Add chopped peaches and gently toss again. Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!
I was expecting the coffee notes of this vinegar to be a bit more pronounced, but I detect more of a vanilla flavor ~ slightly sweet, aromatic, acidic and smooth.
I've included the nutrition facts label from the volcano rice below too so you can see the mineral content (which is not available in my recipe analyzer).
When you make this, be sure to take a photo and tag me #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!
Disclosures: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products that I use and trust.