A summer treat featuring rice, herbs, currants, olives, and tiny chopped vegetables, pulled together by a vinaigrette dressing.
Cook the rice. When it is done, take the rice off the stovetop or out of the instant pot or rice cooker and put it in a large bowl. While it is still quite warm, add 1 - 1 & 1/4 cups of vinaigrette. (Save the rest of the vinaigrette to add, if desired, once the salad is ready to serve.) Mix the dressing into the rice thoroughly, until you coat all of the rice with the dressing. Let the rice come to room temperature, then refrigerate if you want to serve the salad the next day, or proceed to add the other ingredients as indicated in the directions below.
Cut the vegetables (except for the peas) into tiny pieces about the size of a currant.
Using the directions on the package, cook the frozen peas until they are barely cooked. Think about al dente pasta - we are going for the same general principle here - cooked but not overly so. They need to stand up to gentle mixing without falling apart.
Gently mix the remaining ingredients (diced vegetables, herbs, olives and currants) into the rice and taste, adding salt and pepper if necessary. Serve at room temperature.
Rice - I have not specified which type of rice to use because any type will work in this salad. My personal preference is jasmine rice, which I cook using these directions. Here's another good explanation for how to cook jasmine rice, with or without rinsing. (Hint - you don't need to rinse rice in the US.)
Servings - This amount of uncooked rice ( 2 & 1/2 cups) will yield about 7 cups of cooked rice. That's enough for a small army when you factor in the vegetables and currants, so feel free to cut the recipe in half. Still, the leftovers are delicious and can last 2-3 days, which you should keep in mind when deciding how much to make.
Vinaigrette Dressing - I prefer homemade, but store bought is fine too. Because the dressing may be spicy enough, you do not add the salt and pepper until you're ready to serve the salad, and only then if the salad needs it.
Peas - Like much else in this recipe, the exact amount of peas is not crucial. The packages I saw in the store were 13 ounces so I bought one and used the full package. The original recipe called for 1 package but specified that was 10 ounces. Of course over the 40+ years since the cookbook came out, the weight of a standard package of peas may have changed. In any event, a few more or a few less peas won't matter.