As we read Tehilla Goldberg’s column this week, one thought came immediately to mind: Joan Nathan’s Seven Species Salad.
You see Goldberg shares her Tu b’Shevat traditions as well as emerging Tu b’Shevat trends, which include creating dishes that incorporate the seven species of the Land of Israel: Wheat, barley, dates, figs, pomegranate, dates and olives. One way to do this, writes Goldberg, is to create a salad incorporating all seven ingredients. So you can see why Nathan’s recipe came to mind. It’s featured in her recent cookbook King Solomon’s Table, a global journey of Jewish food. At the time we reviewed Nathan’s book, we suggested the Seven Species Salad for Rosh Hashanah, as pomegranates are traditionally eaten at this time, the seeds considered an auspice for good fortune.
But Tu b’Shevat is perhaps an even better fit. Is there a better way to celebrate the trees of Israel than through their fruit?
Try this salad for a Shabbat side. It also works perfectly for a take-to-work salad. Simply omit the salad greens, adding only to your individual container before leaving to work in the morning.
Seven Sacred Species Salad
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup wheatberries
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 1/2 cup dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup figs, chopped
- 1 cup white or red grapes, halved
- 1 small red onion, chopped fine
- 5 scallions, sliced thin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced fine
- 1 cup parsley, basil or cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup olives
- 2 handfuls salad greens
- 1 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
Stir the balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, mustard powder and salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and let sit.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and add the wheatberries and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add the barley and continue to simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes, until the wheat berries and the barley are almost al dente.
Drain and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking and transfer to a bowl and let cool completely. Then stir in the dates, figs and grapes.
Add the red onions, scallions, garlic, parsley, olives and pomegranates. Put the greens out on a flat plate, cover with the salad, sprinkle on the feta or goat cheese, if using, and drizzle some of the dressing over. Toss and serve immediately.
You may find you need to cook the wheatberries on their own, for longer, before adding the barley. We recommend simmering the wheatberries on their own for at least 20 minutes before adding the barley.