I like combining raw and cooked forms of the same vegetables into a salad. I think it makes for amazing texture and it makes an ingredient taste more intensely like itself.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup wheat berries, soaked in water overnight, drained and thoroughly dried
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 pound small green beans, washed, tips snapped off by hand or cut off
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
Put a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, remove the pan from the heat and add the wheat berries, then put back over the heat. Add a pinch of salt and allow the berries to toast. Add the water and cook until they start to break apart, about 45 minutes. Taste. They should be chewy but firm. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a pot large enough to hold about 6 quarts of water, to a boil over medium heat. Add salt until the water tastes like mild seawater. How will you know? Taste a drop of water.
Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl, large enough to hold the green beans, with cold water. Add some ice cubes and line with a strainer. Stir the green beans into the ice bath to awaken any beans that are limp. Strain and add them to the boiling water. Cook the beans for 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove them from the water, transferring them immediately to the same ice bath. Allow them to sit in the ice bath for a few minutes, swirling them gently in the water to assure they are all cooling in the cold water.
Transfer the green beans to a kitchen towel and pat dry. Transfer them to a serving bowl and refrigerate.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sherry and balsamic vinegar. Season the dressing with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
When ready to serve, add the wheat berries to the beans and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.