Provençal Wheat Berry Salad with Prawns

Whole Grains are kind of a big deal. Everyone’s talking about them. You should eat them, you should cook with them and you should get to know different kinds.

That’s what they say, anyway. I don’t like being told what to do, but as a girl who likes to mix it up (in the kitchen, folks!) I’m more than happy to try something new.

(Plus, they are probably reputable nutritionists, so I should probably listen to them.)

Wheat berries are the entire wheat kernel minus the hull. This is good. They’re the real deal. They contain more good for you stuff because they haven’t been tampered with as much as something like flour.

They take a little while to cook, but it’s not any harder than cooking rice. Mine took about 45-50 minutes. They should be a little crunchy/chewy with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor.

What I like about these little guys is that they can hold their own in a dish and add a unique and satisfyingly chewy texture. In this salad they pull together chunky vegetables, a strong Dijon vinaigrette, and sweet grilled prawns without getting lost.

Provençal Wheat Berry Salad with Prawns and Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette
Closely adapted from Fine Cooking
Serves 2
– 1/2 cup dry wheat berries
– 1 cup green beans, trimmed
– 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained and thinly sliced
– 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
– 1/4 cup diced roasted red peppers
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
– 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
– Salt & Pepper to taste
– 12 prawns peeled and deveined
– 1 tablespoons olive oil

Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette
Click here to find out more!
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
– 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
– 1/2 a medium shallot, finely diced
– 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
– 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
– 1 teaspoon of water
– Dash Worcestershire sauce
– Salt & Pepper, to taste

To make vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a jar, put the cap on and sh-sh-shake it.

In a medium saucepan, combine the wheat berries, a little salt, and enough water to cover by about 2 inches/5 cm. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat and cook at a simmer, partially covered, until the wheat berries are tender but chewy.
Begin checking after 45 minutes, though they may take up to 90 minutes. Drain the wheat well and spread on a baking sheet to cool.

Bring another medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add a sprinkle of salt and the green beans to the boiling water. Cook until just slightly tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. Cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, green beans, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, walnuts, chopped herbs, several grinds of pepper, and 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette. Toss thoroughly. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and vinaigrette.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over high heat. Add the prawns in a single layer and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned on the outside and opaque throughout.

Toss the prawns into the salad and serve.

If you cut the prawns lengthwise, they will go farther in the salad. I cut mine lengthwise after cooking, but you can do it before and they will cook even faster.