Let the flavors of olives, artichokes, roasted red peppers and feta cheese transport you to a small, sunbaked taverna somewhere overlooking the Mediterranean.
Wheat berry is the whole grain of wheat, before it has been processed into bran, germ or flour. Some recipes call for soaking the berries before cooking. But Ed Bruske has never had any trouble cooking them in less than an hour in lightly salted water. They have a lightly nutty flavor and are pleasant to chew. They're also relatively inexpensive and readily available in bulk at Whole Foods and health food stores.
This dish can be made up to 3 days ahead without the feta cheese and refrigerated in an airtight container. Add the cheese just before serving.
- 1 cup wheat berries
- 1 cup (cooked or canned) drained and rinsed chickpeas (optional)
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup well-seasoned, oil-cured black olives (pits removed), coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped marinated artichokes, drained
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped radicchio
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped arugula
- 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, diced
- 10 cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 lemon (juice only; 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a kettle of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so the water stays hot. Place the wheat berries in a small pan, adding a generous pinch of salt. Cover with hot water from the kettle to a depth of half an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook gently, checking frequently and adding a splash or two of hot water as needed, up to a cup or so in total. The berries are done when all the water has been absorbed and the grains are plump and tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, if desired, feta cheese, olives, artichokes, radicchio, arugula, roasted peppers and tomatoes. Add the cooled wheat berries and stir to combine. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Ed Bruske, a personal chef and freelance writer.
Tested by Leigh Lambert.
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