Coast Cooking

Rice is perfect in a bowl of gumbo

Gumbo and a big scoop of rice go hand in hand.
Gumbo and a big scoop of rice go hand in hand. Special to the Sun Herald

Recently, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the Delta. There is a lot to see and do there, the Blues Highway (U.S. 61) is making a big splash and is bringing in tourists from throughout the world, the Mound Trail, exploring the archeological traces of the Native Americans who lived here, and, as I discovered on the assignment I was on, there is a Tamale Trail as well.

But perhaps the most interesting thing I did while there was to tour a large rice farm owned by the Arant family.

What they produce is called Delta Blues Rice and can be found at the Ocean Springs Fresh Market on Saturday mornings, online and at a handful of grocery and specialty shops as well. This rice and rice grits are of superior quality and are locally grown, so give it a try if you can.

This week I will be blogging about a few rice recipes. This certainly is the time of the year for gumbo, and a big scoop of rice in the middle is almost a requirement.

But here’s a tip: melt some butter and add a few cloves of crushed garlic, when the oil is fragrant, remove the garlic and toss in the rice, stir for a few minutes, just to make sure all the grains are coated, then steam the regular way. The result is a lovely, garlicky rice that will enhance your favorite gumbo.