Wheat Berry Salad
Easy, colorful, healthful, delectable. That's a grand slam!
Wheat berries are chewy and tender, toothsome and hearty, the whole wheat kernel composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm - basically everything but the husk. When milled you get whole wheat flour but when left whole, processed either soft or hard, wheat berries are the ideal base for just about anything. Add whatever you like to cooked wheat berries, ranging from fresh and dried fruits, to nuts and olives, to vegetables and herbs. Not all wheat berries are created equal, which means that there are no absolute cooking times. It can take as little as 45 minutes to cook a batch of wheat berries, or it can take up to twice as long. The key is to taste as you go. After 45 minutes, if the texture is pleasing to you, they are done. It's all about technique, not torture!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; measuring spoons; dry and wet measuring cups; microplane; large saucepan or small stock pot; strainer or colander; rubber spatula or large spoon; large mixing bowl
Ingredients: 2 cups wheat berries
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 1 orange
zest and juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
¼ cup shelled roasted pistachios
¼ cup pomegranate arils
2 scallions, thinly sliced
kosher salt and ground black pepper 2 cups baby arugula
1. In a large saucepan, place the 2 cups wheat berries in 7 cups of water plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender yet chewy.
2. Drain the wheat berries in a colander, shaking off any excess water. Transfer the cooked wheat berries to a large mixing bowl. While they are still warm, add the olive oil, zests, and citrus juices to the bowl, and toss well to combine. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes before adding the other ingredients to allow the wheat berries both to cool and absorb some of the liquid.
3. Stir in the apricots, pomegranate arils pistachios, and scallions. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Toss in the baby arugula and mix well to incorporate.
4. Serve immediately. Alternatively, prepare the salad up to a day in advance, without the arugula, and store in the refrigerator, to serve the dish cold, tossing in the arugula just before service.
"This salad is a gorgeous side salad, vegan main dish, or stellar base for salmon, chicken, or shrimp. "
Makes 4-6 side dish servings.