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For Tu b’Shevat a Wheat Berry Salad

Tu b’Shevat begins on Feb. 5 at sundown.

Naomi Ross, author of the new cookbook The Giving Table, shares how this day always marks a special time in her household.

Wheat Berry Salad

“Tu b’Shevat symbolizes the renewal of a tree’s life. The sap rises from deep within the tree as it begins to prepare for the growing of fruits in spring. So, we celebrate by eating fruit,” she says.

“When my kids were younger, I would prepare lots of fruits and come up with trivia games to get them interested. Now that they are a little older, I prepare some spruced-up fruit dishes. I am aiming to do a Tu b’Shevat seder, as well.”

Ross and her family always try to:

  • eat the seven species of the Land of Israel: wheat (berries), barley, grapes, figs, pomegranate, olives and dates;
  • have a new fruit and say the blessing of “Shehecheyanu,” and
  • if possible, eat a fruit that was grown in the Land of Israel (a little more challenging).

Here is Naomi’s recipe for a Wheat Berry Salad from The Giving Table that is perfect for your Tu b’Shevat table.

Wheat Berry Salad with Grapes and Hazelnuts

This whole-grain salad can also be made with farro or freekeh — each has their own unique earthy flavor which complements the aromatic hazelnuts.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. whole hazelnuts
  • 1 C wheat berries
  • 3 1/2 C water (or to cover)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 C halved red grapes
  • 2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 TB minced fresh mint
  • 2 TB minced fresh parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3-1/2 C crumbled feta or blue cheese, optional

Dressing

  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 TB minced shallot, from about 1/2 shallot
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 C olive or grapeseed oil, scant

Instructions

  1. Toast nuts: Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil; spread hazelnuts in an even layer on sheet pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes — skins should appear flaking and cracked. Remove from oven, cool, and rub nuts with fingertips or dish towel to remove skins. Coarsely chop and set aside.
  2. Cook wheat berries: Place wheat berries in a large dry saucepan over medium heat. Toast briefly for about 2-3 minutes. Add water to cover and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45-55 minutes or until tender. Wheat berries should be tender with a bite, but not mushy. Drain; set aside. (Alternatively, wheat berries can be prepared in an electric pressure cooker on high pressure for 20-22 minutes.)
  3. Prepare dressing: Combine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, shallot, honey, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk to blend. Slowly drizzle in oil while continuously whisking to blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Dress: Pour dressing over warm wheat berries, tossing to coat. Add remaining ingredients and mix to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in reserved chopped hazelnuts. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Toasting nuts refreshes the natural oils in the nuts, making them more aromatic and improving their crunch. Toasted pecans can also be used if hazelnuts are not available.




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