For Paper Chef 54, I randomly drew three ingredients – raspberries, zucchini/courgettes and beans – and got to choose a fourth – grains. I was interested in the theme of seasonality, with a liberal interpretation, knowing that participants in Paper Chef come from all over the world. When the selections came up, I was pleased that they would be seasonal – at least for me. However, when I went to make something with this group, it wasn’t obvious what to do. Uh-oh. Would that cause a drop in participants like some of the other weird combinations of ingredients?
I had beautiful pale green zucchini from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm that I belong to, fresh fava beans from the local health food store, all kinds of grains in my pantry, and fresh raspberries regrettably from the other side of the country. The weather here is unbearably hot and humid and therefore the most summery, refreshing dish was called for.
The grains were a toss-up of farro, wheat berries and wild rice and I ended up with wheat berries, which frustratingly can take forever to cook until you soak them overnight. I thought the crunchiness and shape would work, and it did, though many other grains would work with this combo.There’s no real recipe here since it’s totally adaptable, but here’s what I did to serve as a room-temperature “salad.” I separately cooked the grains (the night before), and the vegetables. I dressed them all with a sauce of mascerated and sieved raspberries with a little balsamic vinegar, and then served the salad with snipped herbs, additional raspberries and roasted apricots.
Wheat Berry Salad with Zucchini, Fava Beans and Raspberry Sauce
½ cup wheat berries or other grain, cooked and set aside (2 cups)
6-8 fava bean pods, small pods extracted and boiled, popping out the inner bean
1 small pale green zucchini, diced and lightly sautéed in olive oil over low heat
3 scallions, diced and lightly sautéed in olive oil over low heat
¼ c raspberries, mascerated with a little sugar for 1 hour and sieved
1 tsp or two of balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
Herbs (I used chives and lovage)
Lightly roasted apricot halves