Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is a deliciously healthy Wheat Berry Salad.
Wheat berries are a true whole grain. You may not recognize the name, but without these kernels, there would be no flour. Wheat berries are loaded with nutrients and are as easy as rice to prepare, perfect for a meal any time of year. Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels. Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away. They look like thick, short grains quite similar to brown rice.
When boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. They are sturdy enough to handle salad dressings and still delicate enough to taste delicious with some milk, honey and cinnamon. And if you like sprouts on salads and sandwiches, add a little water to wheat berries and you can grow your own tasty wheat sprouts.
Apart from the cup of wheat berries (which I doubled) Dorie´s recipe for the dressing calls for Dijon mustard, olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I used Moutarde de Montjoie from my favorite artisanal mustard mill ("Senfmühle Monschau") and added some fresh lemon juice to the salad dressing.
For the vegetables, Dorie chose celery, onion, a bell pepper and as the fruit she used an apple – I grilled some thin slices of white and green zucchini instead, cut them into half-moon shapes and added them to the salad together with chopped Kalamata olives, salt brined capers and yellow, green and red grape tomatoes. As herbs I also added a whole bunch of chopped Italian parsley, chives and basil.
As a sort of topping for the wheat berry salad, Dorie used canned tuna, mixed salad greens, tomatoes, an avocado and hard-boiled eggs. I skipped the tuna, but crumbles some feta, sliced some avocado, soft-boiled some small farm fresh eggs and added my favorite hearty salad green just before serving. Purslane or “Portulak” (Portulaca oleracea) as it is called around here is not your typical salad green that you will find in your favorite supermarket – so I was thrilled when I found a bunch of this somewhat “forgotten” salad green. With its pretty somewhat shiny and “sturdy” green leaves and pronounced tart flavor, purslane is the perfect match for the other vegetables and the wheat berries.
Wheat berries have a definite nutty flavor so they are great with a lot of different fresh vegetables, especially when they are grilled, tons of fresh herbs such as basil, chives and parsley and also cheeses such as mozzarella or feta. Wheat berries are deliciously healthy, fusing perfectly with the other flavors in this easy dish, perfect for a weeknight meal or for a summertime picnic. This recipe was very enthusiastically received at our house. It is a definite keeper - I will add different grilled vegetables, herbs, cheese and salad greens to this (next time it will be ruccola).
Look for wheat berries at a health food store or in the natural foods section of your local supermarket.If you cannot find wheat berries, you can easily substitute pearl barley.
To see how the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group prepared this Wheat Berry Salad click here.