Wild Rice Salad with Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Walnut Oil

Chef Alfred Portale of the stylish Gotham Bar and Grill in New York City, created this easy-to-make but elegant side dish. Paired up with a duck breast or roasted turkey, it makes for a delicious winter holiday bite.

Note: The wheat berries will cook in about half the time if they are soaked in water overnight, preferably in the refrigerator.


The crisp acidity of a Loire Valley Cabernet Franc and its red fruit flavors will echo the cranberry flavors in this dish; recommended communes include Saumur-Champigny, Chinon and Bourgueil.

  • For the grains
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup wheat berries (see Note above)
  • For the salad
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped Portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil or good extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To cook the grains: Fill one saucepan with 3 cups water and 1¼2 teaspoon of the salt and another saucepan with 21¼2 cups water and 1¼2 teaspoon of the salt and bring both to a boil over high heat. Add the rice to the first saucepan and the wheat berries to the second, cover both, and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally. The rice should take about 40 to 50 minutes, and the wheat berries about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Drain if necessary and let cool slightly.

To prepare the salad: Place the cranberries in a small bowl, cover with 2 tablespoons of warm water, and set aside to soften, about 10 minutes. Drain.

In a small skillet, warm the canola oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the 1¼2 teaspoon salt and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring to a serving bowl. Add the walnuts, shallots, parsley, and softened cranberries. Add the cooled grains. Toss gently to combine. Drizzle the mixture with the walnut oil and season with fresh pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Published on December 17, 2009