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Provençal Wheat Berry Salad with Shrimp and Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette

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Serves 4 as a main dish.

Yields 7-1/2 cups.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 106

Halving the shrimp lengthwise makes a small amount seem more abundant. This salad is best the day it’s made, but it’s a tasty leftover, too. Just toss it with a little of the remaining vinaigrette and serve it warm or at room temperature, not cold.

  • 1 cup wheat berries, preferably winter or hard wheat
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed
  • One 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, cut in half, and thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. small cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped, well-toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp (41 to 50 per lb.), preferably wild, peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

In a large (4-quart) saucepan, combine the wheat berries, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 5 to 6 cups of water (enough to cover by 2 inches). Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the wheat berries are tender but pleasantly chewy. Begin checking after 50 minutes, though they may take up to 90 minutes. Drain the wheat well and spread on a baking sheet to cool. (You can cook the wheat up to 1 day ahead; refrigerate after cooling. Bring to room temperature before using. If the wheat seems wet, spread on dishtowels to dry for about a half-hour.)

Bring another large (4-quart) saucepan of water to a boil over high heat, and put a clean dishtowel on the counter. Add 1 tsp. salt and the green beans to the boiling water; cook until tender, 4 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer the beans to the dishtowel to cool in one layer. When cool, cut them into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, green beans, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, three-quarters of the almonds, the chopped herbs, several grinds of pepper, and 1/3 cup of the Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette. Toss thoroughly. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and vinaigrette. You can overdress the salad a bit at first, as the grains will keep absorbing it.

Season the shrimp with salt. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook undisturbed until lightly browned on the bottoms, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the shrimp are curled and just opaque throughout, 1 minute.

Toss the shrimp into the salad and sprinkle with the remaining almonds.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 530; Fat (g): fat g 27; Fat Calories (kcal): 240; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3.5; Protein (g): protein g 23; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 52; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 600; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 85; Fiber (g): fiber g 9;

Photo: Scott Phillips

We love this salad, a great combination of flavours. I will definitely make it again.

This was excellent, will definitely be making again. Very fresh tasting, and the flavors come together so well. I didn't add the tomatoes but otherwise followed recipe exactly.

I usually don't like to cook the same recipe twice as I get bored easily BUT this recipe I would definitely cook again and again. I didn't change one ingredient. I only had a difficult time finding wheat berries though. I ended up ordering a BUNCH of it online. I also treated my co-workers to this salad and they too ended up ordering wheat berries too!! I can't wait to find more recipes using this grain! Thank you Fine Cooking for introducing me and my coworkers to this wonderfully delicious grain!!!

Very good salad made exactly as described. Next time I'll experiment a bit more with the veggies. The mustard-caper vinaigrette is excellent, and I may use it for other salads. Bravo!

The medium shrimp I used were labeled 51-60 per pound, I adjusted accordingly and didn't halve them. I substituted roasted eggplant for the artichoke hearts so all the vegetables-green beans, tomatoes and eggplant were fresh from our garden. The wheat berries gave the dish a satisfying nutty quality. No problem with leftovers-my husband had it finished the next day. Would definitely make again.

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