1 cup (1/2 pound) raw long grain white rice such as basmati, rinsed
For the Caramelized Onions:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
For the Salad:
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup orange juice (to soak the cranberries)
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted (Toss frequently in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes until they darken and become fragrant. Watch carefully so they don’t burn)
3/4 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
For The Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1 orange, zested and juiced (1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest)
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (or substitute sherry vinegar)
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Cook the Rice: Cook the wild rice per package instructions (or boil 2 1/4 cups water in a medium pot. Add wild rice. Lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes or until rice is tender and starting to pop open) Set aside, uncovered, to cool.
Cook white rice per package instructions, adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the cooking water. Spread rice over the bottom of a large bowl to cool.
Caramelize the Onions: Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Simmer onions, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until they’re soft and caramelized. Pour in a tablespoon or two of water and stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Set aside to cool.
Infuse the Cranberries with Orange Juice: Bring 1 cup orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in dried cranberries in and let them soak for 30 minutes. Drain and aside. You won’t need the remaining orange juice for this recipe.
Make the Vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest, vinegar, shallots, mustard and honey. Slowly add olive oil while whisking, to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper.
Assemble the Salad: Combine salad ingredients with white rice: wild rice, caramelized onions, cranberries, pecans, apricots and parsley. You can make the salad ahead to this point. Cover bowl and store in the fridge overnight. Store vinaigrette in the fridge overnight. Toss salad with dressing an hour or two before serving. Serve at room temperature.