Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Now that summer is here, we are definitely eating a bit lighter. Todd has always said that he is not fond of salads, and by that he means a plate of boring leaves with little else.
Indeed . . . salad is something that the British got quite wrong for a number of years, with most salads consisting of some torn iceberg lettuce, a few slices of wilted cucumber and an bit of anemic tomato on top! If you got any dressing at all . . . it was salad cream, or straight mayonnaise. And while I am rather fond of salad cream on boiled eggs or in sandwiches at times . . . I really want to have something a bit more tastier on my salad. It is no wonder that Todd thought he didn't like salad.
Nowadays there is no excuse for a boring salad here in the UK. We grow all sorts and varieties of salad greens right here at home . . . meaty rocket, tender oakleaf, peppery watercress, sweet baby gems, cos . . . to name but a few. Us UK'ers are quite well travelled these days, and have taken a lesson from the continent. It is now quite common to find tasty salads in most restaurants.
At home, Todd is still not overly fond of a plate of lettuce and so I always try to dress them up with a bit more than just lettuce, using a variety of vegetables and in this case here today . . .
Topping the colourful plate of salad greens with a delicious wheatberry salad, chock full of crunch and sweetness. Crunchy toasted walnuts and chopped celery . . . sweet dried cranberries . . . spicy spring onions, and a tangy lemon and olive oil dressing.
Topped again with a breast of chicken that has been rubbed with a delicious mixture of spices and grilled until perfectly cooked, and still juicy and tender.
This is quite nice . . . Todd mumbled in between satisfied mouthfuls.
My job was done. ☺ I do ♥ a happy and well fed man!!
*Grilled Chicken and Wheatberry Salad*
Hearty and deliciously different with a nutty and chewy wheatberries, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy toasted walnuts atop tender greens and topped off with a spicy grilled chicken breast!
For the Salad:
1 cup of hard wheat berries
(I used an 8 ounce measure of Ebly and 16 ounces of chicken broth)
2 ounces of chopped toasted walnuts (1/2 cup)
a large handful of parsley, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
2 1/2 ounces of dried cranberries (1/2 cup)
2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS lemon juice, plus 1 tsp
salt and black pepper
4 cups of mixed salad leaves
For the Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp olive oil
Make the wheatberry salad first. Combine the wheat berries and enough water to cover by 2 inches in a pot. Bring to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered until tender, about 1 hour. Drain and let cool. (If you are using Ebly, combine 1 measure of the Ebly with 2 measures of chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then cook for 10 minutes, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Drain well and cool.)
In a large bowl, combine the cooled wheat, toasted walnuts, parsley, celery, cranberries, spring onions, olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with some salt and pepper. Set aside.
Place the chicken breasts into a plastic baggie and bash them with a rolling pin until they are about 1/2 inch thick and of even thickness throughout. Combine the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Rub the chicken breasts with the olive oil and then with the spice mixture, rubbing it all into both sides.
Heat a large grill pan over medium high heat. Spray with some cooking spray. Grill the chicken until grill marks have formed and the chicken is cooked all the way through, some 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
To serve, place 1 cup of salad leaves on each of four chilled plates. Cover with 3/4 cup of the wheat berry salad. Slice each chicken breast on the diagonal and lay atop the wheatberries. Serve immediately.
Note - You can also chill the wheatberry salad and then pack it with the salad leaves and chicken into a takeaway container for a delicious, and yet hearty, go to work lunch!
I stored the leftovers in one of my handy dandy Pyrex 4-in-1 Plus dishes that I was sent to try out last week. They are just lovely! Ideal for eat-in and take-away cooking, the Pyrex 4-in-1 Plus range offers air tight storage that can be used in the fridge or freezer. Its smart lid has a steam valve that enables microwave heating, remove the lid and it can be used to cook in an oven. Made from borosilicate glass, it is thermal shock resistant and able to withstand temperatures of up to 300*C. They come with a 10 year guarantee under normal use and are nicely sized for easy storage. Available at stockist in the UK and starting at £5.50 they are easily affordable. Thank you Pyrex for allowing me to try them out! I've spent the last week, storing, baking and reheating with the three that I was sent and I am very happy with them. I highly recommend!!