Monday, August 18, 2008

Crisp, chewy and light Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad...

Well, we enjoyed a cool stretch over the last few days, but as usual around in August, the temperatures have started to shoot up again. I was planning on another dish for dinner tonight, but I moved that to tomorrow so we could cool down with this Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad.

Some recipes call to soak wheat berries before cooking them, but I've never found it to cut that much time off the total needed to soften the hard grains. I was glad to see this one left that step off. The wheat generally takes about an hour to an hour and a half to soften... I check at the sixty minute mark and they are usually close to being done, depending on if they are cooked at a light simmer or closer to a boil.

While the tender, chewy wheat berries were cooling, I had plenty of time to knock out the preparation for the rest of the ingredients. We chopped up two types of apples for this salad - Gala for their sweet, light flavor and Granny Smith for a tart, juicy bite. A thinly sliced rib of celery, dried sour cherries and plump golden raisins round out this fruity salad, adding flavor and their contrasting textures. For a nutty note, a handful of chopped walnuts that we toasted are also tossed into the mix.

To keep the salad light and refreshing, we prepared a zippy dressing made of freshly squeezed juice from a sweet orange, zest from said orange and a few glugs of seasoned rice vinegar. Do note, seasoned rice vinegar is different that regular rice vinegar - the seasoned has salt and sugar added. A couple green onions lend a savory aspect, while a bit of chopped mint brought a breath of fresh (literally!) air into the salad. With all of these sweet flavors, it may seem a little odd to season at the end with salt and fresh ground black pepper, but don't skip this part as it ties the rambunctious tones together. I quite enjoyed the dried sour cherries in this dish, but I can see how you could replace them with dried cranberries if you couldn't find them (I finally located a bag at Trader Joe's). While I can appreciate the lighter nature of the dressing, we both commented that we thought a splash of a good, fruity olive oil would have been a nice accent. You certainly don't have to serve this salad with those tender Boston lettuce leaves, but it does make for a more dramatic presentation. Jeff decided to make good use of them, ala a tortilla, and making a wrap out of the salad and lettuce!


  1. I LOVE wheatberry salad - that chewy goodness!! To combine it with another favorite, Waldorf Salad, is brilliant! Time to break the wb's out of the pantry!

    We live fairly close to Williamsburg and love to eat at Chef Marcel Desoulnier's (the creator of "Death by Chocolate") Trellis restaurant. They have the most amazing wheatberry salad there that I have been trying to recreate for years!! A mix of wheatberries, currants, tiny dice carrots and I THINK red wine vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. I keep trying, but can't quite nail it...sigh...One day!!

  2. Gigi - NO WAY! You have been to the Trellis??!! You would think, as close as I am, that I would have been there by now. I love Marcel Desaulniers - I have all his cookbooks.....


  3. Your pup is SO cute!
    This salad looks so yummy and right up my alley. Printing....

  4. Sounds like a good end of the Summer night salad. I'll have to find Wheat Berry.