Test Kitchen tips: Toasting rice and grains for flavor
As with toasting spices and nuts, toasting grains before cooking can enhance the nutty depth of the grains, lending an extra layer of flavor to a final dish.
Toast grains in a dry saucepan over moderate heat, just until they become aromatic and color a little. Rice can be toasted in a dry pan, or sauteed with butter and a little flavoring before the liquid is added to cook (as with risotto).
If cooking a large batch, you can toast grains in the oven. Spread them out on a sheet pan and toast at 350 degrees just until aromatic, 5 to 7 minutes depending on the heat and quantity of grains. Then cook, or cool the grains and store until needed.
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo: Top row, left to right: Millet, quinoa, golden flax seed; Bottom row, left to right: Farro, red quinoa, barley. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times