It seems that there has been some sort of whole grain renaissance going on, and I am just awakening to whole grains and all their many uses. Whenever I'm in the aisle that houses these little gems I always stop and contemplate all shelves have to offer. Wheat Berries, Bulgur, Kamut, and Spelt are just a few of the grains that we can find now. I love to experiment with different grains and enjoy the variety that each one offers. I crave the tender chewiness of brown rice, the soft pearls of quinoa and the subtle sweetness of whole oats and the pleasing nuttiness of wheat berries. I desire to learn more about matching and pairing their unique flavors and splendid textures to my everyday table. I love the idea that whole grains are healthy and wholesome. But honestly I don't eat them because of that, to me whole grains carry such a luxurious quality about them in their lively textures, colors and rich flavors.
I recently stumbled upon this recipe from Nigel Slater's book called Notes from the Larder. It is cracked wheat salad with mint and mango. The perfect summer salad for lunch, or good as a main-course salad next to some grilled lamb chops or a roast chicken.
Wheat with mint and mango
enough for 4-6 as a side dish
2/3 cup cracked wheat (bulgur)
6 green onions, finely sliced, discarding the tough green leaves
1 lb. very ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
1 small red chile, diced finely
4 tsp. chopped mint (about 8 bushy sprigs)
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped fine
half a small hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
8-10 radishes, finely sliced
juice of a lemon
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
Put the cracked wheat in a bowl and pour enough boiling water just to cover, then set aside for about 20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
Combine green onions, mangoes, red chile, mint, parsley, cucumber and radishes in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and a generous seasoning of both salt and pepper. Rough the soaked wheat up with a fork, draining it if it has not absorbed all the water. Crumble into the bowl with the other ingredients, stir gently with a fork and serve.