This salad was originally a cobbling together of supper club left-overs made quickly to take to a bbq at my brother’s... It was such a delicious combination I had to share the ‘recipe’. If you’ve yet to discover spelt its absolutely incredible, it can be pearled, where the bran is removed and it’s therefore smoother – it’s great for risottos; but I love nutty, chewy, wholegrain spelt as a base for so many salads. It tastes incredible, has awesome texture, and is a nutritional powerhouse too, being high in protein and fibre, as well as carbohydrate. Read more about the nutritional properties from the finest organic spelt farmers, Sharpham Park, here.
The spelt in this recipe had previously been served with some goat’s milk labneh, burnt broccoli, preserved lemon, and a tahini dressing – a popular main course at Hare on the Hill the night before. I added some sauerkraut and leaves, but you can take this flavoursome base and run with it, adding in your favourite seasonal vegetables, or whatever is going spare in the fridge!
So often when cooking the base of a salad – whether that’s spelt, lentils, wild rice etc. – I cook double, as the deliberate left-overs get added into stews, salads or lunch boxes later in the week, so feel free to cook more spelt than suggested.
This very loosely makes four hearty servings.
1 ½ cups spelt
3 small preserved lemons
8 spring onions
large handful of curly parsley
4 tablespoons of olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (zest too, optional)
handful of almonds
sea salt & black pepper
Rinse the spelt well under cold running water.
Place it in a large saucepan, cover with cold, salter water, and bring to the boil gently.
Keep cooking the spelt on a low simmer for approximately 45-50 minutes. Test a few grains as you would rice or pasta; it should still be chewy, but without bite.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees and roast the almonds for 4 minutes, this enhances their nutty flavour and gives them a wonderful crunch. Allow them to cool and then coarsely chop. If you’re planning on adding any roasted vegetables, prep and roast these now too.
Once cooked, drain the spelt in a colander and allow the steam to billow off as much as possible; I even spread cook spelt (and in fact rice, lentils, etc.) out on a few layers of kitchen paper to really allow it to dry. This ensures that the final salad is light and flavoursome, for a dryer grain can absorb more delicious dressing/lemon juice/oil, and be even tastier!
Quarter the preserved lemon and discard the flesh. Finely dice the skin.
Finely slice the spring onion and chop the parsley.
Mix everything together, seasoning generously with salt and pepper, and dousing with lemon juice and olive oil. I even add the zest of the fresh lemon, as I really enjoy the combination of the two different lemon-y notes.
As I mentioned – see this as a wonderful salad base… here are a few suggestions:
Roasted broccoli, crumbled feta, cherry tomatoes & baby leaves
Left-over roast lamb (especially pulled slow-roast lamb!) with pomegranate seeds & rocket
Watercress & avocado, with my raw ratatouille