When you write about food, you always have your "foodar" on, as you search for new ideas to write about. So at a recent holiday party at our friends' Rachel and Morgan's, where I was supposedly watching after my two little ones, my foodar went "BE-EP! BE-EP!" when I tasted a grain salad that was served along with delicious roasted turkey.
The salad was made with farro, wild rice, quinoa, and barley. The grains were threaded with pecans, raisins, and dried cranberries and the salad was brightened with bits of arugula, radishes, and a wash of sherry vinegar and walnut oil. It was the kind of salad that sounds like a starchy do-gooder, but it has grace and conviction, and you'll want to eat it every day for lunch. Andrew Burman and Matt Monahan, the chefs at Court Street Grocers, who were the caterers that evening, kindly shared the recipe with me. —Amanda Hesser
6 to 8 as a side
2 cups mixed grains (like farro, freekeh, wheat berries, wild rice, and quinoa, pearl barley, or any combination of the above)
1 cup baby arugula leaves
1 cup parsley leaves, minced
1/2 cup tarragon leaves, minced
1/2 cup mint leaves, cut in a chiffonade
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup lime, watermelon, or French breakfast radishes, cut into thin slices, preferably using a mandoline
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the grains and cook until just tender, about 25 minutes. (With grains like wild rice and wheat berries, add them to the pot first and cook 10 minutes before adding remaining grains).
Drain the grains into a colander, then set aside until warm to the touch.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Season with salt to taste.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.