First impressions are undeniably important, whether or not we fully realize it at the time.
As an example, I'd like to tell you about my introductions to two different foods and how each initial dish formed my opinion about its main ingredient. My first taste of kale came in the form of a salad, and I (and my poor, aching jaw) will never forget it. I'm sure that, if prepared correctly, kale can be entirely enjoyable, but in this instance, it was terrible. Since that occasion, I've actively avoided getting on the kale train, maybe to my own detriment. I guess I might give it another chance one day, and it will likely be a day when this kale craze is completely over.
On the other hand, my first taste of wheat berries was amazing in every way. They were the perfect texture and chewiness, and they were loaded with surprising and delicious flavors. They weren't even the main part of the dish, but they're what I remember most clearly and most fondly.
Because I was so impressed by the wheat berries, I took it upon myself to buy some and experiment with them, and this salad was my first attempt. I love to incorporate juicy fruits into dishes like this, and I happened to have both cherries and blueberries on hand, so in they went. Feta is essential for its salty, slightly sour contribution, and parsley just seems like a natural herb for this kind of salad. Though the wheat berries have more than enough texture to suffice, I wanted a serious crunch, so I included chopped celery and walnuts, and I appreciated them both.
This is truly adaptable around what you have in your fridge, so I hope you branch out and try wheat berries, if you aren't already obsessed! For the record, this wasn't nearly as good as the dish that introduced me to wheat berries, but it is (and I am) a work in progress.
Spring Wheat Berry Salad in Winter
Makes about 4 cups
- 1-1/2 cups hard red spring wheat berries
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 cup cherries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
To prepare wheat berries: Sort through wheat berries carefully, discarding any stones. Rinse well under cool running water. Place in a large heavy saucepan. Add water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Drain and rinse. Let cool to room temperature.
To prepare salad: Combine cooked wheat berries, lemon juice, oil, celery, cherries, blueberries, parsley, and nuts in a large bowl; stir gently.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.