When I see these two pots on the stove, boiling lemons and simmering wheat berries, I know there's something delicious ahead--that is, one of my all-time favorite grain salads: tasty, summery, and fresh.
And there's something delicious ahead for you. This is the first recipe I've posted from our new cookbook, GRAIN MAINS: 101 SURPRISING AND SATISFYING WHOLE GRAIN RECIPES FOR EVERY MEAL OF THE DAY. It hits stores in August, but I wanted to give you a sneak peek at one of its many whole-grain salads. If you want, you can even pre-order a copy--click here for Barnes & Noble, click here for amazon, or here for indepedent booksellers.
But for now, the salad.
First, dump 3/4 cup (150 grams) wheat berries into a large saucepan. Fill it with water until they’re submerged by several inches (or many centimeters). Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the wheat berries are tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much residual moisture the wheat berries had after sitting on the shelf.
One note here: no presoaking of the grains. Huzzah! In this salad, we actually liked the slightly softer texture the wheat berries get without first soaking them overnight. That also means the salad's all the quicker!
As the wheat berries cook, place a large lemon in a medium saucepan, cover it with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the lemon is soft and tender, almost squishy. Drain in a colander set in the sink, then run cool water over the lemon until you can handle it. Cut the lemon in half; scrape out and discard the mushy inside. Mince the softened rind; scrape the bits into a large serving bowl.
Those wheat berries are stilling simmering away. So while you've got nothing else to do, toast 1/2 cup (50 grams) sliced almonds in a dry skillet set over medium-low heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Scrape them into the bowl with the minced lemon rind.
And while you're at it, grate two large zucchini through the large holes of a box grater. Pick up handfuls of the threads and squeeze over the sink to remove excess moisture. Dump them into the bowl with the almonds and boiled lemon rind.
Okay, the wheat berries are probably done. Drain them in a fine-mesh sieve or colander in the sink. Run cool tap water over the grains to stop their cooking. Pour them into that serving bowl.
Now stir in up to 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice, 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, 2 ounces (55 grams) coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
And you're done! The salad will keep in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 3 days. But it tastes best at room temperature. So dig in now!