This wheat berry salad is conveniently made using pantry items like roasted red bell peppers from a jar combined with canned white beans, tangy capers, and creamy feta cheese. Fennel, along with plenty of parsley, adds freshness to the salad. It makes for a healthy and sustaining supper or packed lunch. —la domestique
6-8 as a side-salad, or 4 hungry folks for the main course
To cook the wheat berries, drain from the soaking water and place the grains in a medium pot with 1 ½ cups water. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and simmer until the grains are al dente, or tender but pleasantly chewy, which could take anywhere from 40-90 minutes.
Roast the fennel. Heat the oven to 425°F. Cut off the top stalks and the hard base. Slice the bulb in half vertically and cut out the woody core. Chop the fennel roughly into bite-sized pieces, then toss with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven till tender and caramelized, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked wheat berries, fennel, red bell pepper, cannellini beans, and parsley. Make the vinaigrette. Place the capers and sherry vinegar in a bowl and gradually whisk in ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Season the salad with sea salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the feta cheese just before serving. Enjoy the salad warm or at room temperature.