Roasted green wheat is a whole grain, with superior nutritional qualities (iron, protein, calcium, minerals galore) and a chewiness and smokey flavor unlike anything you will ever taste. It is available at all Middle-Eastern stores and online. It is also produced in the US and Australia. It is called freekeh and is an ancient food in the Near-East.
One day, the western world will discover this grain and it will be sold everywhere. For now, though, it is still virtually unknown.
One word of caution: Wash it well and watch for bits of stones and debris. It is still prepared in an artisanal fashion, with some brands better than others. Look for plump and clean-looking grains, if possible.
This is wheat that has been smoked and harvested early.
It lends itself to all kinds of dishes; traditionally in the Levant, it is prepared with chicken or lamb shanks and as a soup.
It is terrific as a salad; you can feed it to a carnivore and he or she will feel totally satiated. It is a rustic and hearty grain.
INGREDIENTS: 4 servings
- 1 cup of freekeh or roasted green wheat
- 1 onion, chopped
- Olive oil, as needed
- 1 can of crabmeat, drained
- 1 lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed in a mortar with a dash of salt
- 4 large tomatoes, dunked in boiling water for 30 seconds and peeled
- 1/2 cup of chopped parsley and cilantro
- 1 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper or paprika
- 1/4 cup of olives, chopped
- Place the green wheat in a bowl and run some cold tap water on it to cover; let it sit and drain, looking for small rocks or debris to discard. Do this a couple times to be on the safe side.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and fry the chopped onions till light golden, about 15 minutes. Add the drained green wheat and stir a bit to coat the grains in olive oil. Add 1 1/2 cup of water and cover the pan. Keep it on medium heat for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender but still firm. If too tough, add 1/2 cup of water and cook a bit longer. Cool.
- Drop the tomatoes in a few cups of boiling water to loosen their skins and peel them. Cut the top part off and remove the flesh and seeds with a grapefruit spoon. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt. Set aside.
- Place the green wheat mixture in a bowl; add the minced herbs, garlic, flesh from the tomatoes (diced), crabmeat and season with the juice of a lemon and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add some paprika and taste to adjust seasoning. Transfer the salad to the tomatoes and cover with the tomato tops. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Keep any leftover salad in a bowl, covered.
NOTE: You can substitute wheat berries for the roasted green wheat, however, add more water (2 to 1 volume) and cook the berries longer.
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