¾ cup short grain brown rice, dry
4 baby fennel
coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil
zest & juice of 1 lemon
2 shallots, thinly sliced (white & light green part)
To begin, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook according to the package instructions. When finished, spread the rice out onto a plate to cool. Drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.
Preheat your outdoor grill to medium- high heat.
For the fennel, remove the long green stalks from each bulb. (If you'd like to save the stalks for stock or another recipe, wrap in plastic wrap, foil and freeze, up to 3 months). Pluck about ¼ cup of the leafy green fronds and set aside in a bowl. You will use them to decorate your salad.
Slice the fennel bulbs in half lengthwise keeping the root end intact. This way, the fennel will not fall through the grates. Add to a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill the fennel (lid closed) for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Be sure to check on them from time to time to make sure that they do not burn. You'll know the fennel is ready when they are no longer stiff and are fork tender. Depending on size, your cooking time may vary. Transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop the fennel into bite-sized pieces.
To assemble the salad, add the brown rice to a large bowl and toss in the chopped fennel. Drizzle with olive oil, adding more as needed. Grate in the lemon zest. For the lemon juice, start with ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper and give it a taste. Add the other ½ lemon if you'd like. Add the scallions and toss well to combine.
To serve, sprinkle with your reserved fennel fronds. Enjoy at room temperature.