Pilaf originated in Persia; the word refers to any rice dish in which the rice is sautéed in a little oil or butter and then simmered with seasoned liquid. Variations take off from there—this version combines springtime herbs, asparagus and crab for a delectable main-dish pilaf. Serve with a glass of iced tea and a tossed salad.
Prep Time 25 min
Total Time 75 min.
2 small leeks, or 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups vegetable broth
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces lump crabmeat, any shells or cartilage removed
2 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon, or dill
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cut leeks in half lengthwise; rinse thoroughly under water. Cut crosswise into thin slices, place in a colander and rinse again.
Melt butter in a large ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in rice; cook, stirring frequently, until the grains become somewhat translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in mustard, salt and pepper until combined. Pour in broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits.
Cover the pan. Bake the rice for 40 minutes. Then sprinkle asparagus and crab over the rice, replace the cover and continue baking until the rice and asparagus are tender, about 15 minutes more. Stir in tarragon (or dill). Serve with lemon wedges.