Fig and Wheat Berry Salad with Blue Cheese
Source: Cheryl Sternman Rule & Paulette Phlipot, Ripe
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA's Market to Table program on September 14, 2012. Recipe reprinted with permission from Ripe © 2012 by Cheryl Sternman Rule, with photography by Paulette Phlipot (Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group).
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups hard red winter wheat berries
½ pound mesclun, arugula, mixed herbs, torn Lacinato kale, or baby spinach (about 6 cups), loosely packed*
¾ pound Mission figs (about 14 figs), stemmed and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup blue cheese crumbles
¼ cup toasted, chopped pecans (optional)
1. To cook the wheat berries, soak in enough water to cover for several hours or overnight. (You can skip this step to save time, but it purportedly eases digestion.) Drain and place in a deep saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, cover with 7 cups (2 liters) cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a steady simmer, covered, for about 1 hour, or until al dente. Drain, rinse, and let cool. (Makes 5 cups. Freeze what you don’t use in the salad.)
2. Place 3 cups of the cooked, cooled wheatberries in a large, shallow serving bowl. Toss in the mesclun. Lay the figs decoratively on top.
3. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the oil, vinegar, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle half over the salad and toss to coat.
4. Sprinkle with the cheese and pecans. Toss again, taste, and add additional dressing, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired level of flavor and moistness.
5. Serve immediately at room temperature, passing any additional dressing on the side.