Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wheatberry Salad with Dates, Celery and Walnut

Wheat berries and the idea of the freedom of adulthood go hand and hand to me. Growing up, I went to church more or less every Sunday and I will confess, sometimes I went rather grudgingly. I would look with longing at the leisurely brunchers at Bread and Chocolate as we sped by on our way to church, wistfully hoping for the day when I was a grown up and could spend Sunday mornings as leisurely as I liked and over brunches if I so chose. Every great once and a while, I could convince my parents to stop for brunch on the way home from church. While the challah french toast at Bread and Chocolate was divine, they served a wheat berry salad - sweet, nutty, acerbic and delicious that somehow tasted like those grown-up dreams of mine. It was the first place I'd ever tasted wheat berries and it's still my favorite way to prepare them. Though Bread and Chocolate isn't there anymore, my memory of that wheat berry salad and all the promise it represented is still quite vivid. And this adaptation of Martha Stewart's version comes quite close to recreating that salad. To have as I choose on Sunday mornings or otherwise, of course ;)

Wheat Berry Salad
adapted from MSL March 2010

1 c wheat berries (soaked overnight or at least 4 hours, drained)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3/4 c pitted, chopped dates
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
2 tbs walnut oil
3 tbs sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Place wheat berries in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 35 minutes. Drain.
While cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk together orange zest and juice, walnut oil and sherry vinegar.
Once the wheat berries are done, in a bowl, combine wheat berries, walnuts, celery, dates and vinaigrette (give it a good whisk before you pour it in, making sure it emulsifies). Mix together and enjoy!

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