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Author Notes: I am a grain-salad addict, I can't get enough and I am always looking for more ideas. Wheatberries and Wild Rice are a great combo, easily cooked together. I've use soft-white wheatberries here, if you go with hard-red wheatberries, you may want to cook the grains separately, as the soft-white seem to be a little quicker cooking.
The sharp eye will notice a few edamame in my photo, I didn't have enough favas or soybeans to do the job, so just I used both. I think the creamy fava sets off beautifully against the chewy grain and crunchy sunflower seeds, but edamame is delicious, and I'd try limas too. As fava season is so short, it is nice to make the recipe a little less limited.
Also, ladies and gents, my three-year-old and I are divided on the feta v. ricotta salata issue, so feta is usually what we have about. Personally, I would have used diced ricotta salata if I had had my druthers. 'We' are into firm and sheepy, so Bulgarian is our drug of choice. If you have fantasies of veganifying this recipe, chopped Kalamata olives would be pretty sweet, in fact I might just throw them in *with* the cheese next time around... —threefresheggs
Serves 4 as main dish, 8 as a side
cups Spring (white) Wheatberries, dry
cup Wild Rice, dry
teaspoons kosher salt
teaspoons ground cumin
cup grapeseed oil
cup raw sunflower seeds
lemon's juice (maybe more), +lemon for serving
tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
cups steamed favas or edamame, cooled (peel edamame as for favas if you have the patience)
garlic scapes, sliced thin
cup parsley, sliced fine
cups crumbled feta, or ricotta salata, small dice
- Combine the wheatberries and wild rice in a medium (8") sauce pan, rinse through with a few changes of cool water, then cover with water by about an inch and a half. Bring to a boil. Add salt. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 1 hour, adding more water – to just cover – if need be. Drain if necessary, set aside to cool.
- In a medium skillet over moderately high heat, heat the oil. When hot enough to quickly sizzle a seed on contact, carefully add in the sunflower seeds. You should hear popping and see browning almost immediately. Fry-toast seeds, shaking the pan frequently, until golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and remove seeds from oil using a slotted spoon. Drain on brown paper. Transfer hot oil to a medium prep bowl.
- In a small dry skillet over moderately high heat toast cumin until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add to reserved oil.
- Add the lemon zest, juice (start with 1/2), and some salt and pepper to the cumin oil. I like to blitz dressing with my hand-blender for super-emulsion, but whisking is fine too. Taste and adjust seasoning, remembering that the cheese will add significant salt. You may need a drizzle of olive oil here.
- In a large bowl, combine wheat & wild rice mixture, favas, scapes, thyme, and parsley. Pour dressing over & mix well.
- Just before serving, fold in cheese (can be added in previous step if using the firmer ricotta salata) and sunflower seeds. Garnish with a little extra parsley and a lemon wheel.
- *If the salad is to be made ahead, the lemon's zip will likely diminish as time passes, make sure to taste before serving. A little sherry vinegar is a nice perk-up in a pinch.