Black Venere Rice with Smoked Salmon

What attracted me to this rice is its color.  It's naturally black.  I don't really have a certain predilection for black food, I just find them so mysterious and aesthetic especially when combined with red and green.  But I won't put any black food in my mouth unless I know what it is or what is in it.  Black hides everything and I like to have visual discernment of what I eat.

Since this is the first time I encountered venere rice, I had to get to know more about it.  It mystified me why it is naturally black.  It has a high vegetal substance content called antocians.  Its iron content is four times higher than the normal rice and the selenium is twice higher.  This makes it good in anti-ageing and increasing the immune defense system.  Oh, yes!

Born in the Po Valley of Italy, it is a cross-breed between an Italian variety and Asian black rice.  In China, this kind of rice has existed since 12800 B.C.  It was cultivated only for the emperors and their courts until the 19th century because it was rare and the production was scarce.  It is still more expensive than the normal rice even in Italy.

I really had no idea how to cook this rice.  Luckily, the box came with a suggested recipe.  And what do you know, I have all the ingredients on hand.  The first thing I noticed about this rice is the smell.  It smells so wonderful while cooking!  Reading the box again, it did say that it has a characteristic aroma of freshly baked bread.  Freshly baked bread is one home aroma I am crazy about.  If only I can bottle it and keep it.

Aroma, flavour & appearance.  This rice has everything I like in a food.  Welcome to my cupboard, venere. 

Black Venere Rice with Smoked Salmon

Serves 4
  • 1 cup venere rice 
  •  salt 
  • 1-3/4 cup water
  •  extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 10 - 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
  • 100 grams smoked salmon, cubes or strips
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • bunch of parsley, chopped
  1. Cook the rice in a pot with 1-3/4 cup salted water.
  2. In another saucepan, over medium heat, sautè the garlic in extra virgin olive oil (about 3 tablespoons).  Discard the garlic when it turns brown.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and toss for about a minute.
  4. Then add the salmon.  Toss for a minute.
  5. Add the white wine and simmer until sauce is reduced.
  6. Transfer the cooked rice in the saucepan of the salmon & tomato mixture.  
  7. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley & salt.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.