Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Supper: Ina Garten's Wheatberry Salad

Cayenne & Carob's Sunday Supper: Wheatberry Salad
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that I did not cook this entire dish on Sunday. In fact, I did not even cook the entire thing myself. TEB cooked the wheatberries on Wednesday night in preparation for making Ina Garten’s wheatberry salad for an outdoor picnic on Thursday evening. Turns out we had plenty of other food so opted not to make the salad. So there was a bowl of cooked wheatberries staring at me Sunday morning and I decided to adapt the recipe to be slightly heavier and suitable for a main dish or lunch.

It took TEB 2 hours of simmering and several additional cups of water to cook these nutty wheatberries. The best technique seems to be to taste-test them every 30 minutes or so. Since we cooked them a day before we were going to use them, TEB left them al dente figuring they would cook the rest of the way when reheated.

I altered this recipe according to what was left in the fridge from my CSA delivery the week before. I added swiss chard and garbanzo beans for some color and to make the dish more filling. I measured nothing, which is how I like to do things. I mixed the ingredients until the proportions looked pretty. This dish is beautiful and tastes good too. If you can split up the cooking, like we did, then wheatberry salad is a perfect leftover. But the otherwise 3-hour cook time for a salad is pretty ridiculous.

Wheatberry Salad
Adapted by Cayenne from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style

1 cup hard winter wheatberries

Kosher salt, to taste
1 ½ cup finely diced red onion (1 onion)
6 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 scallions or green onion, minced, white and green parts

1 red bell pepper, small diced

1 carrot (optional), small diced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed

5-7 leaves swiss chard, destemmed, chopped, save all parts

Place the wheatberries and 3 cups of boiling salted water in a saucepan and cook, uncovered, over low heat for approximately 45 minutes, or until they are soft. Check every 30 minutes and I had to cook them approximately 3 hours. Drain. The wheatberries can be made a few days ahead, just reheat after initially cooking to al dente.

Saute the red onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Before the onions are done add the chopped chard stems, cook for 2 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans and chopped chard leaves, cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
In a large bowl, combine the warm wheatberries, red bell pepper, carrot (optional), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Add all the warm sauteed stuff. Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes for the wheatberries to absorb the sauce. Season, to taste, and serve at room temperature.

photo credit: Cayenne 08.16.09

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