Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rye Berry Salad

Give me a second to explain. I am not one of these people obsessed with health to the point of eating bird food in hopes of achieving some sort of constitutional zen. I realize I am a human, with outstanding daily needs, unsatisfied by a rice cake, (far from health food in actuality). That said, there are times when a well prepared whole grain or two, really hits the spot. Roasted local chicken, toasted cashews, fresh basil, market mushrooms, snap peas and perfectly cooked rye berries, make a hearty meal for health nuts and old school eaters alike. I promise.

Rye Berry Salad:
*2 cups organic dry rye berries (or favorite whole grain)
*1 medium sweet onion, chopped
*1 1/2 cups market mushrooms of your choosing, rinsed and chopped
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*2 cups freshly harvested snow peas or sugar snaps
*4 Tbsp butter
*10 basil leaves, chopped
*1 cup leftover roasted chicken (optional)
*1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
*sea salt and pepper
*1/4 cup toasted cashews for garnish
*chopped chives for garnish

*Rinse rye berries. Place in a large bowl with enough lukewarm water to cover grains, and add 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice. Cover with a kitchen towel and soak overnight. In the morning, strain grains, rinse and repeat. This process is very important for digestibility, and only takes a few active minutes of prep. Rye should be slightly sprouted after about 24 hours of soaking.*
Rinse soaked rye berries well. Place in a large pot and cover with ample water, adding a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rye berries are tender and plump, about 1 hour.
Strain off excess water and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Place 1 Tbsp butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion. Saute until clear and aromatic. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and peas. Saute until tender, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add to rye.

Toss in the basil, chicken *optional, and lemon juice. Melt the additional 3 Tbsp butter, and toss thoroughly into grain mixture. Adjust seasonings. Serve in pretty bowls and garnish with cashews and chives.

*Rye does contain gluten. If seeking a gluten free version, try brown rice or quinoa, using 2 parts water to 1 part grain.

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