Wheatberry Salad- 2 ways

19 Apr

The other day, I was in the elevator at work– and one of my co-workers, who also belongs to the co-op, made some comment about how filling wheat berries are.  I chuckled and took it as typical co-op talk– but something about it stuck– and within the week I bought a huge bag of wheatberries (costing 83 cents, yup).  Pretty soon, i’m that co-op hippie in the elevator- talking about the delicious and substantive qualities of wheatberries, surely deserving to be mocked.  This salad is not too different from the Everything But The Salad– and is equally infinitely modifiable.  I made this two ways- a meat and a veg version. Ingredients might seem a little random- but it is basically whatever I have in the cabinet/freezer.  The veg features a chipotle baked tofu, spinach and black beans. The meat has duck, chorizo and kidney beans.  I sort of winged it on these recipes- so forgive me for the imprecise manner- and just ask me if you need anything clarified.

How to prepare wheatberries: A lot of people talk about soaking these overnight, but this does not really prove to be necessary.
Rinse wheatberries thoroughly in a colander. Boil 3 cups of salted water.  Add 1 cup of wheatberries.  Lower heat, and simmer for 45 mins uncovered until they are tender- and they will start to split. Drain. *now i only usually cook them for like 25 mins– maybe I just like them w. a bit more bite- but that’s what i do

Veg version
1 package firm tofu
Can of chipotle in adobo
14 oz can of black beans
10 oz bag of fresh spinach
Cumin- and I think I added a minuscule pinch of cayanne
Lime (or lemon if you don’t have it)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Take firm tofu and place on a plate. Put another plate on top of it- and put a very heavy book on it. Leave for 30 mins. This will drain out some of the water. It is not an altogether necessary step- but if you have the time- it does make a difference.  Cook wheatberries. Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes and place in an 8×8 inch baking dish. Mix some olive oil, half a lemon or lime, salt and pepper in a little bowl.  Pour over tofu.  Take a spoon of the chipotle sauce- pour over the tofu and mix up. This stuff is pretty spicy- so use more or less accordingly.  Bake at 400 for 30 mins.  Best Baked Tofu would work here too.
Drain beans in colander.  Sprinkle w salt & pepper and a pinch of cumin- tiny pinch cayanne. Mix up.
Wash spinach. Put wet spinach into a big pot. Add some water- maybe half a cup. Turn on the heat, put on a lid, and stir occassionally and the spinach will wilt in a couple minutes. Drain spinach.
Add beans, and wheat berries to spinach. Season with lime or lemon, salt and pepper.  Add tofu. I think a red pepper would work really nicely in here too, if you have it.

Meat-tastic version (not pictured, sorry)
1 chorizo link
1 duck breast
1 14oz can of kidney beans
Paprika
salt & pepper
balsamic vinegar
Cook the cup of wheatberries per instructions above.  Drain, then add salt, pepper, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil.  Later, I am going to add some duck fat- but if you are not into that- add little more olive oil here.  Drain can of kidney beans.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.  Slice up chorizo and fry in dry pan. Take out of pan and set aside.
To cook a duck breast:
Wash and pat dry.  It will have a massive layer of fat on top. Make knife cuts into this fat, diagonal, quarter inch apart.  Make another set in the other direction, like a crosshatch.  Salt & pepper. Heat dry skillet on low. Don’t add oil (but because I am indulgent, I left the chorizo fat in this time). Put fat side down in skillet.  Will begin to brown and fat seep out, 10-15 mins.  Flip over and cook another 5 minutes. That’s medium rare.  Pretty interesting, apparently duck is a red meat- so you cook it medium rare etc- instead of like poultry which you cook through.  Want it more well done, cook on the longer side of the 10-15 mins.  Take out of pan, wrap in foil and let rest for 15 mins.  To eat, I usually cut off the massive fat layer- though one might consider this poor practice- then slice the breast on the diagnoal.  I have had crispy bits of duck fat on a salad before- and it was delicious- can’t remember the proper name for it.
Add beans, duck and chorizo to wheatberry salad.  Here is where I got a bit decadent again- and drizzled a spoonful of duck/chorizo fat that remained in the pan out over the salad.

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One Response to “Wheatberry Salad- 2 ways”

  1. Anonymous April 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    You had me at “duck/chorizo fat.”

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