What It Is: Nomenclature aside, wild rice is not botanically a rice at all but a grass. And much of the wild rice consumed and sold today is made up of cultivated varietals. Wild rice is really an annual aquatic seed Zizania aquatica found mostly in the upper freshwater lakes of Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in North America.
What to Do With It: Wild rice is a versatile grain that can be used anywhere you would use traditional rices or grains. It's slightly fluffy texture and nutty taste make it a popular Autumnal ingredient in soups, salads, stuffings, and as a side to poultry and game meats.
What Some Chefs Are Doing With It: Wild Rice is often used in soups, and Canteen900 in Forty Fort, PA has a particularly lovely chicken and wild rice soup on the menu this week. Jaime Oliver recently tweeted a chicken miso with wild mushrooms and wild rice. At Star Sparsholt in Oxfordshire, Chef Matt Williams is serving stone bass with wild rice, lemongrass, ginger, coconut, and red chile oil. Atlantic Grill in Rye, NH has a pan seared char with wild rice, Chicken of the Woods, scallions, braised root vegetables, lavender-autumn olive reduction, and fennel micro salad with fennel fronds. And Red Rocks Cafe in Huntersville, NC is featuring panko encrusted grouper with wild rice and broccolini topped with a lemon caper basil butter sauce.