Back Forty's Puffed Black Rice | Soho, New York

The new Back Forty West goes snap, crackle, pop

Shanna Pacifico and rice go way back.

Growing up, the mantra in her Brazilian household was "if you want to get married, you must know how to cook a proper pot of rice."

Now that she has opened the new Back Forty West with Peter Hoffman in the former–and fabled–Savoy space, the chef is well past those youthful lessons. But rice is still a constant presence.

Lately, Pacifico has fallen hard for puffed black rice (click here for the recipe).

To make it, she tosses raw black rice into hot canola oil and fries it until the puffed black exterior cracks to reveal a bit of its white interior.

The puffed rice grains are strewn over a salad of mustard greens, shaved celery root and roasted mushrooms ($10) for a toasty crunch. The sprightly dish is available during lunch and dinner, which officially begins tonight (click here for the exclusive dinner menu).

Play like a chef and expand on Pacifico's simple technique at home: All varieties of rice and even freekeh are ideal, and opportunities for seasonings, from cayenne to cinnamon, are legion.

Back Forty West, 70 Prince St. (at Crosby St.); 212-219-8570 or