Published July 1, 2000.
For light, fluffy, separate rice that doesn’t turn sticky as it cools, toast it, then cook it with the "pasta" method. To avoid a mushy salad, spread the rice out to cool.
The concept of making a rice salad seems quite simple. But the rice, that simple staple, poses more of a problem than you might expect. Long-grain rice normally isn't good cold; it tends to turn hard, clumpy, and slightly crunchy. Short-grain rice holds up better as it cools, but it has a sticky heaviness about it that we didn't want in a rice salad.
We wanted a salad with rice that was tender, fluffy, and light. We needed a cooking method for long-grain rice that would preserve its fresh-from-the-pan characteristics once cooled.
Toast the rice, then boil in an abundant amount of water (like pasta), and drain. Spread the cooked rice on a baking sheet to cool and dry off. Toss the rice with a sparing amount off dressing 20 minutes before serving to the give the flavors time to develop. Add ingredients that are understated to complement rather than overpower the rice. Serve at room temperature.list of recipes