Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Maria Speck while she was on tour for her new book, Simply Ancient Grains. Maria’s passion for inspiring Americans to broaden their grain-repertoire is contagious. Despite being in the thick of recipe testing for my book, I was inspired to try a few of her recipes. I was thrilled when Maria happily agreed to let me share one of her favorite whole grain salad recipes on Summer Tomato.
In the recipe below, I’ve made a few adaptations to Maria’s original. Her Kamut salad is made with oranges, orange peel, leeks, and raisins, but to put to good use the produce available at the farmers market right now, I decided to give the salad a spring makeover. I swapped out the oranges for strawberries and used fresh arugula instead of the cooked leeks. I also decided to skip the raisins since my strawberries were super sweet. Lastly, I swapped lemon zest for the orange zest in the original recipe.
When I asked Maria if she was okay with my spring interpretation of her recipe she wrote, “I love it! Why not? That’s what cooking is all about.” Adore that. Feel free to experiment with your own adaptations—and if you do, share them here. I’ve also included Maria’s original recipe below.
Recipe from Simply Ancient Grains, by Maria Speck. Serves 4 to 6.
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 3⁄4 cup Kamut berries, soaked overnight and drained, or about 2 cups cooked
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 1 small dried red chile (optional)
- 2 cups packed arugula
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄3 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
- 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup mild crumbled blue cheese such as Stilton
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Add the water, Kamut, bay leaf, and chile to a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until tender but slightly chewy, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, if needed. Transfer to a large serving bowl, remove the spices, and spread to cool.
Once cool, add the arugula and strawberries to the bowl with the Kamut.
In a small bowl, beat the lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, salt, and pepper with a fork until smooth. Slowly beat in the olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified.
To finish, pour the dressing over the salad, gently toss, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, gently toss again, and sprinkle with the walnuts and blue cheese. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Elyse Kopecky is a whole foods chef currently co-authoring a cookbook for runners, Run Fast Eat Slow, with Olympic marathoner and longtime friend, Shalane Flanagan. After 10 years working for Nike and EA Sports, Elyse decided to pursue her passion for talking about and writing about food. She went to NYC to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute and has taken cooking classes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Sign-up for sneak peeks of Shalane and Elyse’s book at runfasteatslow.com or follow along @ElyseKopecky.