Well, it's here: the long-awaited GRAIN MAINS, the first-ever attempt to move grains from the side to the center of the plate. Check it out to the left. It's shipping, available, ready--and we're excited.
You see, we believe that whole grains are the gourmet ingredients hiding in plain sight. We're not talking about their health claims. (As we say in the book, we promise never to mention your colon.) Instead, we're talking about the ways that whole grains amplify, mute, and morph flavors in a dish once they become its ballast, its very reason to be.
There's no better way to prove our theory than to start with a simple whole grain salad made from spelt berries. We love them! They've got the best chew of almost any whole grain and they have a sweet/sour slapdash flavor that turns surprisingly elegant when combined with savory, fresh ingredients. If you want to see whole grains as the gourmet finds right under your nose, just make a simple recipe like this one.
Soak a batch (maybe 1 cup?) of spelt berries in a bowl of water overnight, drain, put them in a large saucepan, fill the pan two-thirds with water, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Drop the heat to low, cover partially, and cook about 45 minutes, until the spelt berries are tender with a little chew. Drain in a colander set in the sink and refresh with cool tap water to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly.
(Having trouble finding spelt berries? Look in most high-end grocery stores and almost all health-food stores. Or order them online from dozens of suppliers. Or click here.)
Chop up some tomatoes and celery--the perfect ingredients for a summery salad.
Mix the tomatoes, celery, and spelt berries in a big bowl. Then pour in some pesto--not too much, just enough to moisten the grains. We used our own homemade pesto--but purchased can stand in for an even quicker salad.
Stir it up, give it many good grinds of fresh black pepper, stir it again, and chow down on this easy salad main course, a great lunch any day of the week. Honestly, you'll see what we mean at first bite. This is something you haven't experienced. This is a whole grain in all its glory--not shoved to the side of the plate or tarted up in a baking recipe. This is what you've been missing!