This quick and easy salad is the perfect canvas for other Italian pantry ingredients. Customize it to your own tastes—add a sprinkling of dried Sicilian oregano blossoms, drizzle with Colatura di Alici for a briny pop of flavor or finish with a flourish of Agresto for a touch of brightness and acidity.
Rolando's tip: “The earlier you make it the more flavor you’ll get; make it ahead. It’s really delicious the next day too, just garnish with fresh basil.”
Recipe by Rolando Beramendi, founder of Manicaretti Italian Food Importers
To cook the rice, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season the water liberally with salt (as you would if you were cooking pasta) and add the rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the rice and spread it in an even layer on a baking sheet to cool (this will help the rice keep its toothsome al dente texture).
To assemble the salad, combine the cooked rice, tomatoes, cubed mozzarella and torn basil in a large bowl. Dress liberally with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and garnish with an extra pour of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of fleur de sel.