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Wild Rice and Shrimp Salad

This wildly wonderful rice salad is chock-full of deliciously interesting and nutritious ingredients and will rise as the star of almost any meal..

Use fresh herbs whenever possible to add a fresh crispness and crunch to the shrimp, mushrooms, and hazelnut. If you cannot find hazelnuts, walnuts and walnut oil are fine substitutes.

The wonderful combination of flavors almost demands you serve this salad as an entree, but it is also the perfect accompaniment to roast pheasant, chicken, or turkey and is delicious and beautiful on any fall holiday table.

For a luncheon entree, complete the plate with crunchy green snow peas and a basket of warm lemon poppyseed muffins. Follow with dessert of the ripest and most appetizing fruit you can find lightly napped with just a bit of yogurt that has been drained of extra liquid and sweetened with honey. All that remains to be served is a steaming cup of green tea or glass of your favorite afternoon elixir.

An interesting variation is the substitution of lightly poached oysters for the shrimp.

Additionally, this wild rice and shrimp salad is the perfect contribution for a bring-and-serve picnic or barbeque. The nuts, either walnuts or hazelnuts, plus the combination of basil, oregano or thyme, create the perfect foil for the smokey meat flavors of almost any barbequed meats.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice, washed

1 cup cooked medium shelled shrimp

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

12 hazelnuts, finely chopped

1/4 cup hazelnut oil

4 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme.

Preparation:

* Put rice and 3 cups boiling water into saucepan. Cook, covered, until rice is tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. The rice should yield 4 cups when cooked. Drain. Cool.

* Mix wild rice, shrimp, green pepper and mushrooms together in large bowl.

* Put remaining ingredients into food processor, and process until smooth. Add sauce to salad and mix thoroughly.

* Flavors improve when salad is prepared the day before and allowed to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

* For the highest appreciation of your delicious combination of flavors, allow the salad to return to room temperature before serving .