Wheat Berry Salad with Middle Eastern Spices and Grilled Tomatoes and Eggplant
This salad always wows those new to whole grains. The smokiness of the vegetables, creaminess of the eggplant and haunting complexity of the spice paste create quite a sensation.
1 cup soft white wheat berries (like Bob’s Red Mill)
3 cups water
3 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon sumac (or lemon zest)
1-1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch slices
1-1/2 pounds firm tomatoes, cored
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Combine wheat berries and water with a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 60-90 minutes, or until tender. Drain off any excess water and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Heat grill to medium high. Brush eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Grill eggplant and tomatoes, turning occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, until eggplant is tender all the way through and tomato is slightly charred. Transfer all to a cutting board, remove any skin that peels off the tomatoes and coarsely chop all. Transfer vegetables and all their juices to the mixing bowl with the wheat berries.
Pound together garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle to a paste. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and sumac. Heat a small frying pan over medium-low heat and add paste to pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant, then whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons oil and scrape into bowl with wheat berries and vegetables. Toss well, stir in parsley and serve.