First, there’s no trout in this salad, angry or otherwise. The name comes from one of the best restaurants up along the North Shore. What, you don’t know where the North Shore is? All right, the North Shore is along Lake Superior in Minnesota. A beautiful area that we love to visit and drive. And, every time we do, we spend a night in Grand Marais, so we can walk down and have dinner at the Angry Trout Cafe.
We found the restaurant’s website the first time we were traveling the North Shore, and we really liked their commitment to their neighbors and to sustainability. That was enough to get us in the door. Of course, their food is so good, it’s our number one rated restaurant in the area. And now, fellow scratchers, you can see why.
Wild rice is not actually rice. Technically, it’s the seed of a grass. And, yes, we know that wild rice is expensive in the stores, but if you really like it, you might try finding it online and in bulk. Tamari sauce, what’s that? It’s basically a soy sauce made from real soy beans, not like the popular brands on most store shelves which are made from salty brown water (read the ingredients list so you know what you’re buying). Different brands have different flavors; the one we like is San-J Organic Tamari. We like it and it’s widely available. For the shiitakes, we used dried mushrooms that we rehydrated, about 8 medium caps total.
Procedure in detail.
Cook wild rice. Wild rice takes longer to cook that regular rice; we’ll give you our method that seems to work pretty well. Rinse the rice once or twice, then put it in a large saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice stand for about 30 minutes more. The grains will have burst open, but will still retain some chewiness. Finally, drain off excess water and place rice in a serving bowl.
Cook celery and onion. In a small skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onion and celery, along with a teaspoon of the oil, until tender and just beginning to brown. Add to wild rice.
Cook mushrooms. Return the skillet to the stove, add the remaining tsp of oil, and turn the heat to high. We want to sear those mushrooms to bring out the flavor. Let the oil get nice and hot, then add the mushrooms. Spread them out in a single layer and let them sizzle away, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir to turn over the mushrooms, and again let them sizzle for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add to wild rice.
Add everything else. Add the peas, cranberries, salt, and tamari to the wild rice and stir to combine.
Serve. You can serve this dish hot, room temperature, or cold. It’s an all-purpose side.
We made this side for a party and selected it for four reasons. One, no one else is likely to bring a wild rice salad, at least not in Tucson. Two, it’s gluten-free, so those who avoid gluten can eat it. Three, it tastes good even if it has warmed up. And, four, you can make it ahead of time. We think this is one of the best ways to have wild rice, so, if you have a box in the cupboard that you just don’t know what to do with, consider making wild rice salad, the Angry Trout way (stop in next time you’re in Grand Marais, MN; we think you’ll enjoy your meal). Five stars.