Springtime Hearty Dinner Salad from The Myrtlewood Cookbook

| Category: Food & Wine



Inspired by some substantial salads from a favorite Portland Farmers

Market food vendor, this dinner salad can be altered and adapted

quite easily for any season. One could add beans, or make a tahini

dressing rather than a yogurt dressing, or switch out vegetables for the

best of whatever season you are in. Make sure to consider the textures!



1½  cups wheat berries

Vegetable stock

2 large handfuls of fresh shelling peas


4 or 5 small new potatoes

Grassy olive oil

4 or 5 small white spring turnips

1 large purple daikon or watermelon radish

Umeboshi plum or other good vinegar

4 or 5 stalks celery

½ bunch parsley

Green garlic, a few stems

2 bunches spinach



Good live culture yogurt

Garlic or onion powder, or fancy green garlic powder White pepper

Lemon juice

Flaky salt



Soak the wheat berries overnight. Drain, and set them to cook in a tall saucepan or soup pot, with enough vegetable stock to cover the wheat berries by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 1½ to 2 hours. When the liquid is mostly, if not completely, absorbed and the wheat berries are puffed up, tasty, and tender from the stock, they are ready. Set aside to cool.

Shell all the peas into a separate bowl. Boil water rapidly, adding a dash of salt, then the peas. Set a timer for a minute and a half. Prepare a small ice bath in the bowl the peas just came out of. Pull out the peas with a slotted spoon or strainer, and add them to the ice bath. Add your new potatoes to the boiling salted water. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they give to the prodding of a fork. Drain and set aside, dressing lightly with salt and a little grassy olive oil.

Slice the turnips into 1/6-inch coins. Slice the radishes as thinly as possible. Lay out the radish and turnip slices on separate plates. Sprinkle with salt, leave for several minutes, then top with a healthy sprinkling of umeboshi plum vinegar. Leave to lightly pickle.

Wash and trim the celery, then cut it into pleasing, bite-size matchstick pieces.

Drain the peas from the ice bath and toss them with the celery.

Wash and dry the parsley, then pull off the tops, including the tender upper stems (discard the lower stems or save them for stock). Chop roughly and add to the celery and peas. Thinly slice the green garlic, adding it to the bowl as well.

Wash the first bunch of spinach. Heat a large pan over high heat, then add the slightly wet spinach and actively turn over and over with tongs until it has cooked down and is bright green. Add a sprinkling of salt and turn over once again. Remove and repeat with the second bunch. When it has all cooked down and cooled, pick up the bundle of wet spinach with your hands and squeeze the excess moisture out into the sink

Make the dressing in a separate small bowl or measuring cup, stirring the garlic powder and white pepper into the yogurt and getting the yogurt to a very smooth consistency. If it is too thick to pour, thin it with kefir, cream, milk, or water.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked wheat berries and spinach, turnips, radishes, celery, shelling peas, green garlic, and parsley leaves. Sprinkle lemon juice and flaky salt over it all, then toss. In the individual bowls, pool the dressing in the center of the salad, and serve.



*(c)2017 by Andrew Barton and Peter Schweitzer. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Myrtlewood by permission of Sasquatch Books.

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