This festive salad has medieval charm. It provides a beautiful side dish to any winter holiday dinner. It also travels well to your next potluck destination.
4 cups (1 l) water
1 cup (240 ml) wheat or spelt berries, soaked overnight in 3 cups water, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (120 ml) almonds, soaked overnight in 1 cup water, drained
2 carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise then sliced thin crosswise
½ cup (120 ml) dried apricots, cut into small cubes
5 fresh sage leaves, cut crosswise into thin strips
juice of 1 to 2 limes
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Bring the water to a boil. Add the soaked wheat berries, oil and salt. Bring to a second boil,then reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes. Cook only until the wheat berries are soft – remove from the heat before the berries open and lose their shape. Pour them into a sieve and rinse under cold water until cool. Place the sieve over a bowl to drain.
2 Submerge the soaked almonds in boiling water for 5 minutes. Then douse them in cold water. Remove the skins and break them into their halves.
3 Steam the carrots until tender. Rinse them in cold water and drain.
4 Transfer the cooked wheat berries and carrots and the blanched almonds into a large bowl and stir in the apricots and sage.
5 Combine the dressing ingredients in glass jar. There should be about three times as much lime juice as oil. Close the lid and shake to mix.
6 Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Let the salad marinate for at least 1 hour.
7 Just before serving, toss again and adjust lime juice and seasoning if necessary.
Note: Soaking makes the wheat berries easier to digest and shortens cooking time. This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for three to five days. It tastes even better the next day, when the dried apricots have fully absorbed the dressing. Sage has a very bold flavor, so cut the leaves into very thin strips.
Variation: Substitute celery greens for the sage.