Rye Berry Salad with Mustard and Caraway Dressing

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rye berry salad

There’s more to rye and wheat than the flours and rye seeds we know so well. Try them in chewy, rich whole berry form. Once you have these whole-grain, super-healthy, high-fiber grains soaked overnight, this dish is a true one-dish wonder. It keeps well, so make in advance. The dressing adds a layer of flavor that is reminiscent of a great Swiss on rye sandwich with a little honey mustard. If it is summer, grab a few corn cobs and scrape these kernels right into this salad with a few cut up tomatoes and serve it in crunchy lettuce cups for rolling up.

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  • Cook Time
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  • 4 cups, serves 6 ServingsServings

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2/3 cup dry rye berries
  • 1/3 cup dry wheat berries
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 pound carrots (1/2 bag of mini carrots) cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large firm yellow bell pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds removed, cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large firm red bell pepper, stem, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 1 cups)
  • 6 ounces Swiss cheese, cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cups)( see kitchen tips)
  • 1/4 cup diced cornichons or sweet small pickles
  • 2 tablespoon green peppercorns, drained

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey, preferably orange blossom (see kitchen tips)
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cup tarragon vinegar (see kitchen tips)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Optional Garnish

  • 6 to 8 fresh tarragon leaves, torn (about 1 large sprig)

Preparation

1. The day before you plan on making this salad, rinse the berries well in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water and pick out any pebbles or debris. Place in a large bowl and add enough water to cover the berries by at least 2 inches. They will absorb some of the water during the soaking time. Chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours. Drain well and rinse.

2. Add the stock and rinsed berries to a medium-sized pot and set over high heat, stirring gently. Allow to come to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 55 to 60 minutes, until the grains are soft. The liquid may not be fully absorbed. Remove from the heat, uncover and stir. Allow to cool a bit while you prepare the dressing.

3. Combine the mustard, honey, salt, caraway, cloves, white pepper, and vinegar in a very large mixing bowl that is big enough to hold all of the cooked berries. Whisk well until fully blended. With the whisk still moving briskly, drizzle in the olive oil. It will take a few moments to incorporate, or emulsify, but the mustard will help to keep it from separating.

4. Add the rye berries and wheat berries and toss well.

5. Add the carrots, peppers, Swiss cheese, cornichons and gently mix to combine.

Serve immediately, garnished with tarragon leaves if you wish. It also keeps, refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 days.

Kitchen Tips:

1) You can easily make this recipe in advance. Simply stop at step 4 and place the dressed berries in a covered container and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 2 days. You can chop and add the vegetable and cheese and stir just before serving.

2) I prefer orange blossom honey because it has a just hint of orange flavor. If you are an orange lover, you can add the zest of ½ orange or ¼  teaspoon orange blossom water to the dressing. I prefer using an organic kosher honey.

3) Kosher tarragon vinegar is widely available at most grocery stores, but if by chance you can’t find it, you can easily use a white wine vinegar or a white balsamic vinegar.

4) Ground caraway is available at most kosher markets, by the Israeli company, Pereg. You can use whole caraway seeds and grind it yourself for the brightest flavor if you have time. If you are a serious DYI-er, use a 2 teaspoons of seeds, toast them in a hot pan for 30 seconds and then grind.

5) Whole grains can sit in bins for quite a while. the aging doesn’t hurt them but it does effect how long it takes to cook until soft. You are looking for only a few of the berries to pop out of their skin. Older berries simply take longer to cook and absorb a bit less liquid, so don’t be concerned if you have a little left over, of if you check halfway through and deiced you want a little more.