California Wild Rice Recipe Contest Winners Announced

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courtesy California Wild Rice Advisory Board
California Wild Rice Confetti Shrimp Salad

Fair Oaks, California — In the first California Wild Rice Rumble, a personal chef from Joshua Tree, California, knocked out the competition with her California Wild Rice Confetti Shrimp Salad.

Sponsored by the California Wild Rice Advisory Board (CWRAB), the contest targeted California and Nevada culinary professionals. The grand-prize went to Cheri Holmgren, of Homegrown Catering. Her Confetti Shrimp Salad was chosen from the top recipes in each of three recipe categories: starters, salads and sides. The winner in each category received a cash prize, with Holmgren earning an additional award for the grand prize. All contest winners also received a basket of California wild rice and wild rice products.

Holmgren is a caterer and personal chef, with a love for chainsaw sculpting.

When it comes to California wild rice, Holmgren says she loves it for its versatility, rich color and for the nutritional value it provides as a whole grain food.

Other top awards went to Michael Compean, of the Culver Hotel, Culver City, California, for the best starter recipe, California Wild Rice Galettes with Smoked Salmon and Caper Tartar Sauce, and to Mark LoRusso, of Botero Steak in Las Vegas, for the best side dish – Manchego and California Wild Rice Arancini with Avocado.

In addition to the top recipes, the California Wild Rice Advisory Board awarded a prize for best photo of a wild rice dish. That honor went to food writer and blogger Roland Denzel from Torrance, California. Denzel took the first-place prize for a shot of his California Wild Rice Tamales recipe and second place for his photo of California Wild Rice and Salmon Cream Cheese Roll.

The judging for the contest was held at California State University, Fresno, under the direction of Klaus Tenbergen, Culinology program director and assistant professor. Tenbergen’s Culinology students prepared each entry according to recipe instructions.

For more information and great wild rice recipes, visit the board’s website.


Cheri Holmgren
3 cups cooked California wild rice
1 pound cooked medium fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 to 3 tablespoons seeded and minced jalapeño pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Serving suggestion:
6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Lime wedges for garnish
Cook wild rice according to package directions
In large bowl, combine wild rice, shrimp, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.
In small bowl, combine avocado and lime juice, tossing gently to coat. Add to shrimp mixture, stirring gently to combine. Cover; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
If desired, spoon mixture over shredded lettuce. Add walnuts and toss gently. Garnish with lime wedges. Yields 6 servings.


Michael Compean
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup California wild rice
2 1/2 cups water, divided
1/4 cup uncooked polenta
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shredded fontina cheese
3 ounces sliced smoked salmon
Caper Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)
Garnish: fresh dill sprigs
In medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add California wild rice and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Increase heat to medium; stir in polenta and salt. Gradually stir in remaining water as polenta absorbs it. Once all water is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in fontina cheese. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Line 9-inch baking dish with heavy-duty plastic wrap. Pour rice mixture into prepared dish, spreading to 1/4-inch-thickness. Cover, and chill for 30 minutes.
Cut 4 (1 1/2-inch) circles from wild rice.
In large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add rice galettes and cook for 40 seconds on each side or until crispy. Let cool for 4 minutes.
To serve, top each galette with 1 slice smoked salmon and 1/8 teaspoon Caper Tartar Sauce. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs, if desired. Yields 4 servings.


3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced capers
1/2 teaspoon minced shallot
Pinch fennel seed
Pinch ground black pepper
In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, capers, shallot, fennel seed and pepper. Cover and chill. Yields about 1/4 cup.


Mark LoRusso
2 quarts cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup California wild rice
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons Wondra flour, divided
Ground white pepper
1 tablespoon manchego cheese, cut into 7 pieces
2 large eggs
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cottonseed oil for frying
1 California avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
In medium saucepan, bring 2 quarts water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil over high heat. Add California wild rice; reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour, or until tender. Drain and let cool.
In work bowl of food processor, process half of rice until coarsely chopped.
In medium bowl, combine chopped rice, remainder of cooked rice, parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, salt and white pepper to taste. Form mixture into 7 (1.5-ounce) balls.
Using your thumb, make a small indentation in each ball. Stuff 1 piece manchego cheese into each indentation and mold rice over it to completely enclose cheese.
In shallow dish, lightly beat eggs. In separate shallow dish, combine remaining 1/2 cup flour, breadcrumbs and parsley. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Coat wild rice arancinis in beaten egg; dredge in flour mixture.
In large Dutch oven, pour oil to depth of 2 inches; heat to 360°F. Fry arancinis for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
In work bowl of food processor, combine avocado and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Serve arancini immediately with avocado mixture. Yields about 4 servings.