Wednesday, May 21, 2008

macro wheat berry salad

up close and personal with a versatile and healthy salad

i got a little macro lens crazy and shot the ingredients for this salad as close as i could get. i'm pretty into veggies, though, so these insanely close shots are a-ok with me.

i first had a version of this dish at a house warming gathering years ago. the host was just about my favorite person and she could have served almost anything and i probably would have loved it. everything about her was (and i'm sure still is) so cool and chic and effortless. i pretend i'm like that when i whip up variations of this salad. i say variations because you can put whatever you like in with the wheat berries and dressing and i'm guessing it will always be great.

i don't have and don't use a standard recipe, so i'll do my best to offer up the necessary info. this "recipe" comes from a variety of web searches; play around with it until it suits your tastes. (i'm kicking myself for not even writing down exactly what i did for today's salad!)

wheat berry salad
1 1/2-2 cups uncooked wheat berries
10-15 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
a few stalks of broccolini, sliced into 1 inch pieces
a few handfuls of string beans, sliced into 1 inch pieces
3-4 scallions, sliced (white to medium green portions)
1/4 finely chopped red onion
3 tbsp olive oil (+1tbsp for cooking)
3 tbsp balsamic, red whine or champagne vinegar (you choose!)

1-2 tbsp lemon juice
few shakes of dried dill
salt & pepper
(you can add a few shakes of sugar if you find the dressing too tart)

1. add wheat berries to a large pot of b
oiling water, cook for 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered, until soft
2. drain wheat berries and rinse with cold water, shake in a colander to remove all excess liquid

3. blanch broccolini and bean pieces*
4. in a large bowl combine tomatoes, broccolini, beans, scallions and cooled wheat berries
5. saute red onion in olive oil until soft, allow to cool
6. in a small bowl combine red onions, vinegar, lemon juice, dill, and s&p
7. slowly whisk in the olive oil with the rest of the dressing ingredients
8. pour dressing over wheat berries and veggies and toss to combine

*i totally used the same boiling water the wheat berries were in...dropped the veggies in, scooped them didn't seem to effect the cooking of the berries one bit

veggies and cooked wheat berries - so close you can lick your screen and taste them

i love this salad because it's hearty (a good sized portion fills you right up) and so tasty. i also love that you can use almost any vegetable...try colored bell peppers, thinly sliced carrots, diced cucumber, zucchini...whatever your garden or grocery store has to offer (not plums). it also keeps wonderfully - the berries won't get soggy and the flavor of the dressing on the veggies is even better on day 2.

it seems i need a few white dishes for picture purposes

we ate this with some balsamic chicken that i didn't really like. husband enjoyed it, but this is my blog and he only gets one post for the month of may.