Freekeh salad

This freekeh salad has a very satisfying nutty flavour, as well as all the cooling freshness you’d want on a hot summer’s day.

Freekeh is a cereal crop, middle eastern in origin, which can be used much like rice. I opted for using cracked freekeh for this salad but it is also available whole, which is perhaps more suited for stews. The grain is a wheat crop which is harvested whilst still green and not completely dry. This added moisture means the grains can be roasted on a fire, burning away the straw and chaff and imparting a subtle smokey flavour. The roasted grains are then beaten or thrashed, leading to its name farik, meaning rubbed.

The smokiness of this freekeh salad is particularly pleasing, with the subtle roasted flavour of the freekeh complimenting the more intensely charred courgette, while the coriander seeds bring out the earthiness of grain. This demands to be eaten outside in the sun.

Serves one or two

Freekeh salad

Ingredients

90g freekeh, thoroughly washed in plenty of cold running water
a courgette
a tablespoon of coriander seeds
olive oil
an avocado
a good handful of mint
a lemon

Method

Start by heating a griddle or dry pan until very hot.

To cook the washed freekeh, place into a pan with a generous pinch of salt and pour over 180ml of cold water. Bring this to a boil over a medium heat and once boiling, cover with a lid, reduce the heat down to an absolute minimum and allow to cook for fifteen minutes.

Whilst the freekeh cooks, slice the courgette into centimetre disks and toss with a little oil. Whether you’re using the griddle or pan, avoid moving the courgette around unnecessarily as it cooks as this will lose heat and make the courgette soggy rather crisp and charred. Set aside once suitably browned on both sides

Gently warm the coriander seeds in a generous glug of olive oil. You want to do this over the lowest heat possible to extract the most flavour from the coriander seeds. Take off the heat and set aside as soon as there is a hint of bubbling.

After the freekeh has boiled for fifteen minutes, tip the pan to see if all the water has been absorbed. If water still remains, recover the pan and allow it to cook for a further two minutes. Once the freekeh has absorbed all of the water, place it into a fine sieve inside the saucepan, cover with a clean towel and a lid for five minutes. This will help the grains to steam, allowing any extra moisture to drain away and making the grains more fluffy.

Whilst the freekeh steams, halve the avocado and cut into cubes. Wash and finely chop the mint. Cut the courgette into rough chunks.

To assemble the freekeh salad once everything is ready, combine all the ingredients, along with a generous seasoning of salt and pepper, a good squeeze of lemon juice and the coriander infused olive oil.

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