Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wheat Berry Salad with Citrus Dressing

Recipe from Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
Serves 6 to 8

Close your eyes and imagine chewy, crunchy, citrus and tartness in your mouth all at once and you’ll have a good idea about how wonderful this salad truly is.  Jim LOVED this salad and raved about how filling and delicious it was.  It’s not only that, but it’s just darn pretty to look at and healthy too.  Wheat berries are unprocessed kernels of whole wheat with bran and germ in tact.  They provide protein, fiber, vitamin B, iron, calcium, folic acid, magnesium and other minerals.  Serve this salad for satisfying Meatless Monday lunch.  Lost River Market & Deli has lovely Indiana grown watercress right now, however, baby spinach would be a good substitute when watercress in not available.  You can find wheat berries in the bulk section of the store.

1 cup wheat berries, rinsed (I bought Winter Wheat Berries from the bulk section.)
1 bunch watercress, washed and spun dried, roughly chopped (about 2 cups) (Baby spinach would be a fine substitute if watercress is not available.)
1 large carrot, scrubbed and grated
½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Citrus Dressing
Juice of 1 orange (a blood orange would be nice)
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ Kosher salt

Add the wheat berries to a large saucepan filled with enough salted water to cover them by a few inches.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook the wheat berries until they are plump and tender, about 75 to 90 minutes.  Test as you cook; cooked wheat berries are still somewhat chewy.  Drain and set aside to cool completely.

Add the watercress to the wheat berries, along with the carrot, cranberries and citrus zests.

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.  Just before serving, combine the dressing with the wheat berry mixture and gently mix.  Toss in the toasted pecans. 

To make ahead, store the salad ingredients and the dressing separately and then toss just before serving.

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