Farmers' Market Share: Thanksgiving Wheat Berry Salad Recipe

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Wheat berries have a really satisfying snappy quality that stands up to most anything you can throw at them, from parsnips to pumpkin. Plus, they're easy to cook and store for later if you have extras.

click to enlarge Farmers' Market Share: Thanksgiving Wheat Berry Salad Recipe
Alissa Nelson
Thanksgiving Wheat Berry Salad

1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch rounds
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Generous amount of black pepper
2 cups wheat berries (or barley -- or even brown or red rice)
Generous amount of Swiss chard, braised (last week's recipe)
1 cup cheese of your choice (I suggest goat or Ropp cheddar blue cheese)
1/2 cup or so of pecans

For vinaigrette:
1 cup cranberries, finely chopped
2 tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff -- don't even get me started on this)
1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 tbsp neutral oil
1 tsp grated ginger
1. To cook sweet potatoes, toss the sliced potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover a baking sheet with foil, lightly oil (or spray with cooking spray), arrange the potatoes and cover tightly with more foil. Put in a cold oven, and set the oven for 400. After 25 minutes, remove the top foil layer. After 20 minutes, flip the potatoes (they should be golden brown on the bottom). After about 20 minutes more, they will be done.

These will be the most awesome sweet potatoes you will ever eat, so try to restrain yourself until you're done. OK, you can sneak a few. Thank Cook's Illustrated for this part.

2. To cook wheat berries, combine with 6 cups of water (the ratio is always 3:1). Bring to a boil, add a generous amount of salt (as if you were salting pasta water), cover and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, toss generously with some olive oil and set aside.

3. To make vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients until smooth and toss with the wheat berries.

4. To finalize, combine everything. Salt and pepper to taste.

Alissa Nelson is a graduate student and compulsive buyer of cookbooks. She enjoys scouring seed catalogs and thrift stores alike. Every Wednesday she seeks the bounty of local farmers' markets -- and then cooks it.

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