Great salads are such a delight, whether they are filled with grains, greens or fruits.
Of course, you can mix up a salad by combining ingredients you have on hand, but the end result is always so much better when you have a great recipe along with good-quality ingredients that work well together.
To find a unique, tasty salad to try at home, we went to Larry’s Market at 8737 N. Deerwood Drive in Brown Deer and asked them to share a popular salad.
Dale Curley, owner, selected their Wheat Berry Salad, which can be served as a side dish or main dish.
To make a great salad, he said, start with the best possible ingredients, work to include contrasting textures, and have bright and interesting flavors.
“I think another thing to keep in mind, especially with deli-type salads, is that you have to season them appropriately. … As heartier salads sit, they can absorb more of the flavors and seasonings, which can sometimes lead to a bland-tasting salad.
“So if a hearty grain salad is made the day before, always check the seasoning the next day, as it might need a little bit more. Or, when making it, don’t be afraid to “over season” a bit with salt, pepper, vinegar, etc.”
He singled out two ingredients used in this salad: the wheat berries and cheese.
“The wheat berries are packed with fiber, protein, vitamin E, magnesium and iron,” he said. “The cubes of Marieke Gouda lend a richness to the salad.
“They are also a great counterbalance texture-wise. The wheat berries have a tender chewiness to them, and the Gouda — a Wisconsin cheese that is constantly winning awards — is nice and soft as you chew,” he said.
The market has been serving this salad for 30-plus years, long before ancient grains had the draw and popularity that they do today.
”When we rotate this salad into the case, it can go quick, as it is almost a meal in itself,” he said.
Try This at Home brings the expertise of local chefs into your kitchen via a recipe, technique or tips. To suggest a chef or a restaurant or bakery recipe to feature, email Joanne Kempinger Demski at [email protected]
Larry’s Market Wheat Berry Salad
Recipe tested by Joanne Kempinger Demski
Makes 6 side-dish or 4 main-dish servings
- 1 cup wheat berries
- 1 cup pearled barley
- ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup Larry’s balsamic vinegar dressing
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped fine
- 6 ounces Marieke Gouda cheese, diced small (see note)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and finely diced
- ¾ cup fresh summer sweet corn kernels (uncooked, cut off the cob) or frozen corn, thawed
- Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar dressing:
- ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic (about)
- ¾ teaspoon salt (about)
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper ( about)
- ¼ cup corn oil
For the salad: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to water, then add wheat berries. Lower heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, add barley and simmer an additional 30 minutes. (Add more water when cooking if needed.) Check for tenderness, then drain off excess liquid and rinse wheat berries and barley under cold water. Again, drain off any excess water.
Mix in all remaining salad ingredients, taste and season. Keeps refrigerated 3 days.
Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. While whisking constantly, drizzle in corn oil to create a smooth emulsion. Taste and season as desired with additional salt and pepper. Dressing should be highly seasoned, as it will need to flavor all other ingredients in the salad.
Use 1 cup to make the salad. Remaining dressing can be refrigerated to use in other dishes or another salad. (Makes about 2 cups)
Note: Marieke Gouda is available at Larry’s Market and may be available at other stores that specialize in gourmet cheeses.