Friday, July 2, 2010

Wheat Berry And Beet Salad

We are always looking for different cold salads to have in the summer along side the fabulous stuff Matt is cooking on the grill. We discovered wheat berry salad a few years back at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. We liked it so much we even cooked it for a friend's wedding rehearsal dinner we catered. When Matt picked up some wheat berries at the co-op awhile back I realized I hadn't made a salad like this in years. It seemed like the perfect use for my precious beets in the crisper.
Wheat Berry & Beet Salad
We ended up with a simple salad full of lots of flavor. This is the time to pull out the best olive oil & balsamic you have because their flavor really matters here. I pulled out the 10 year-old balsamic from Zingerman's which is like eating candy, yum. Roasting the vegetables really brings out their sweetness, especially the onions. That sweetness combined with the balsamic plays beautifully with the nutty wheat berries. Then top it all with fresh thyme & salty feta for a perfect side dish.

Last time I cooked wheat berries it was quite time consuming & really heated up my kitchen with the soaking overnight & 1 1/2 hours of simmering on the stove. I decided to see if they could be cooked in the rice cooker. I googled around & found instructions from various places for just that. It worked perfectly giving us wheat berries with exactly the right texture in much less time (& with a lot less heat in the kitchen). I liked the step of toasting them before cooking, I think it gave them a slightly more nutty flavor.

Wheat Berry & Beet Salad
(I did the hot part of this salad in the morning while my kitchen was still cool then let in chill in the fridge until dinner time)

1 c dry wheat berries
1 1/2- 2 c bite-sized beet pieces
1 large onion, cut into large pieces (about 2 cups)
3 T olive oil + extra for roasting the vegetables
1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
1 t fresh thyme
1/4 c feta

Toast the wheat berries on a hot skillet until they they get fragrant being careful not to let them burn, you might hear some popping. Put them into your rice cooker & cover with hot water. Let sit for one hour. Drain. Put the soaked berries & 2 cup of water into the rice cooker. After the rice cooker has finished the cooking cycle let the berries sit in it for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 F.

Put the beets & onions in a roasting pan & coat with a little olive oil. (I put the onions in a small tin foil tray in the pan to keep them away from the beets so they don't turn pink.) Roast for about 30 - 40 minutes until tender & the onions are just starting to brown.

Mix the roasted vegetables in with the cooked wheat berries. Let cool.

Whisk the olive oil & balsamic together. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Mix the dressing into the salad (I like to mix in a little at a time so as not to overdress it.) Stir in the thyme & feta. Chill.

4 - 5 servings

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted.© 2007-2010 Kathy Lewinski

8 comments:

Peter M said...

So nice to see wheat berries appear in so many recipes (we make a sweet dish for the Saints).

Rose said...

That looks so delicious. Gonna have to find wheatberries somewhere around here.

Lori said...

I love a nice wehat berry salad- anything goes. I love the nuttiness.

Solveig said...

I had a crazy tasty version in Providence awhile back -sprouted wheat berries and pomegranate seeds. Unfortunately the sprouting thing takes some foresight, but there's another thing to do with the holy berry!

grace said...

i think both beets and wheat berries make such attractive ingredients, so not only does your salad taste fantastic, it's also exceedingly beautiful!

mangocheeks said...

This looks wonderful.

I've never eaten wheatberries, so will have to keep an eye out for them.

Lori said...

How fun that you catered a rehearsal dinner! I hadn't seen that post before. I'm not the biggest beet fan, but this looks absolutely beautiful!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I'll have to bookmark this recipe, because I've tried working with wheat berries, and failed miserably. Toasting and then soaking the wheat berries is well worth a try.

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