Brown Rice Salad with Fresh and Dried Apricots

Because fresh apricot season is so short, this dish is a special treat. To extend the summer deliciousness, substitute fresh and dried peaches for the apricots. It's the perfect side dish for a summer barbeque. I love it served with grilled meat or fish, corn on the cob and a caprese salad!

Brown Rice Salad with Fresh and Dried Apricots
Adapted from Rice: The Amazing Grain by Marie Simmons
Serves 4-6

Cook according to package instructions:
1 cup uncooked short-grain brown rice
Let stand, uncovered, until cooled before using.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F.  Spread on a jelly roll pan and toast 10 minutes (stir halfway through) or until golden:
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unblanched whole almonds

Combine in a large serving bowl:
3 Tbs flavorless vegetable oil
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs honey
pinch of salt
fresh grind of black pepper

Add cooled rice to serving bowl, along with:
1/2 cup diced (about 1/4") dried apricots
1/2 cup trimmed, thinly sliced scallions, (about 4 scallions)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 Tbs finely chopped tender pale-green celery leaves

Toss to coat. Just before serving, add:
2 cups pitted and cut up (about 1/2") fresh apricots (about 1 lb)

Toss gently to blend, then sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve.

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