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Wild Rice Salad with Sweet Cherries & Sage

2 6 – 8 oz packages wild rice
½ teaspoon salt
8 cups water

2/3 cup sun dried cherries
1 cup celery, diced small (about 2 stalks)
2 stalks scallions, (green & white), diced small
1 cup orange sections (about 2 oranges)
1 cup fresh fennel, diced small
1/3 cup red onion, diced small
1 ½ cups watercress leaves, rough chopped
½ cup walnut pieces, rough chopped

2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup cranberry juice
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup fresh cherries, pitted & chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 cup olive oil
½ cup canola oil
½ cup walnut oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Soak rice 5 – 10 minutes in cool water. Drain and rinse.

Add salt to water and bring to a boil. Add in the wild rice and reduce heat. Cover loosely and cook 45 – 60 minutes until firm, yet tender (not mushy). Drain excess water, fluff with a fork and cover. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Transfer the wild rice to a large bowl. Stir in cherries and allow to cool. Add celery, scallions, orange sections, fennel, onion, watercress and walnuts. Gently combine. Cover and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the vinegar, juices and honey. Stir well. Add in chopped cherries and sage. While whisking continuously, or using a hand blender, pour in the remaining oils. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and pour over the Wild Rice Salad. Serve at room temperature.

Prepare the additional salad ingredients and dressing while the rice is simmering.
This dish can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time. Remove from fridge one hour before serving. Add dressing just before serving.