Your first thought is probably why are we heating an oven up in the summer? Good question! Trust me when I tell you that this recipe is worth it.
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¾ pomegranate seeds (from about ½ a pomegranate)
- ¾ cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped mint
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 garlic clove crushed into a paste
- Salt and pepper
Rice and Assembly
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 mint sprigs
- 8 ounces feta, sliced 1/4 “ thick
Relish: Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Let cool then coarsely chop. Turn the oven up to 450°.
In a medium bowl, toss all the relish ingredients to combine. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed.
Rice: Combine rice, butter and salt in a 13×9” baking dish, add 3 ½ cups of water. Top with mint sprigs. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30-35 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Remove from oven, remove mint sprigs and fluff rice with a fork.
Heat broiler. Arrange feta over the rice. Broil until the rice is browned around the edges and the feta is starting to brown, 8-10 minutes. Top with pomegranate relish, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Possibly one of the best rice dishes ever! I divided the recipe in half and still made a pretty big dish of it, easily enough for 4 people, so you might want to do the same unless you’re having a party. Pine nuts substituted for the walnuts and I toasted them in a frying pan on top of the stove, a microwave will work too. Just keep an eye on them, they go from barely toasted to burnt in an instant. Frank doesn’t like pomegranate seeds (and we didn’t have any) so I made it without them. However, if you don’t have pomegranate molasses, forget this recipe until you get some, it’s really key (and here’s the link to a great salad dressing with it)!
Having some really good basmati rice from Kalustyan’s and (not that I’m bragging) some homemade feta also contributed to this being a great dish and well worth heating the oven!