Here in Southern California, summer is not quite over. We’ve been pushing temperatures in the 90′s for the last two weeks and it certainly doesn’t inspire any cooking which requires slaving over a hot stove or even turning on the oven. That’s why I’m so enamored lately by cold salads which can do double duty. They can serve as a side dish or the main course later in the week (assuming you have leftovers!).
What is a wheat berry?
This is wheat in its whole grain form. According to Grain Mains wheat berries are one of the most common whole grains and appear in many forms; hard red wheat berries (hearty and firm in texture and flavor), soft white what berries (often used to grind into flour), whole grain farro, spelt berries, kamut, and whole grain bulgar (not the processed kind which removes the bran).
The book recommends pre-soaking the wheat berries for 8-12 hours before cooking, but I’m typically too impatient to do that. This time I did a test; I pre-soaked one batch of wheat berries for use in another recipe from Grain Mains and the other I cooked in my snazzy rice cooker* on the brown rice/whole grain setting for my own recipe (this one). The rice cooker does a one hour heated pre-soak and then cooks the grains. In the end, I could detect no appreciable difference, so using a rice cooker is a faster and easier option if you have one. If you don’t, then you’ll want to pre-soak and then cooked the grains in simmering water for 45 minutes to an hour until they are tender, then drain.
This is a lovely end-of-summer salad utilizing what’s still available in the market; fresh ripe tomatoes, sweet corn, and tender asparagus. Serve it as a side dish or add in your choice of protein and you have a complete meal in a bowl.
*I bought my Aroma rice cooker at Costco and I love it. It’s the exact same one as the Amazon link, same price too.