Use the best olive oil you can get your hands on for maximum flavour, says David Rocco. This whole grain salad works well warm or cold.
For the spelt
3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 lb (375 g) spelt
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock, plus extra for sautéing vegetables
For the vegetables
3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2 zucchini, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 eggplant, chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt to taste
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch mint leaves, chopped
Finely chopped walnuts or pine nuts, toasted
For the spelt, heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and let brown. Add spelt. Stir it around to toast a little and enhance its nutty flavour. Add half the vegetable stock and stir. Cook about 10 minutes and check back. (You want to cook spelt in stock, but you don’t want it to be soupy, so although I’ve suggested 6 cups (1.5 L), you might need less.) When first half of stock is absorbed, start adding a little more at a time, until spelt is moist and chewy. Don’t worry if there is still a bit of stock in the pot.
For the vegetables, heat olive oil in frying pan. Add onion, zucchini, red pepper, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and salt to taste. Sauté until vegetables are soft and caramelized. Turn down heat if they are cooking too fast. Resist temptation to add more oil to prevent vegetables from sticking. Instead, add a bit of stock or even a bit of water to help them cook.
Add cooked vegetables to spelt and give it a really good mix. Remove from heat and toss in parsley and mint. Mix well so that herbs are dispersed throughout salad. Set aside and let cool.
When ready to serve, top with some toasted walnuts or pine nuts. Add a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
Source: "Mama Was Right", alive #323, September 2009
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