Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wheatberries with Snap Peas and Magenta Spreen

Songbird Farm is a new addition to the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, selling fresh eggs, basil, salad greens, chard, plant starts, and propolis salve, made from beeswax.

This week they had these amazing colored salad greens, called magenta spreen, 

and SLO Farm had these plump, fresh snap peas.

I decided to combine these with wheatberries from Camas Country Mill. I'd never cooked wheatberries before, but they proved to be quite easy, if you just set them simmer about an hour and a half before you plan to eat. Because I love the combination of peas with ham and mint, I sauteed some cubed ham with sliced snap peas for a few minutes, then stirred in some sliced mint leaves and several scoops of cooked wheat berries, and finished it with a splash of sherry. For a vegetarian version, you could substitute shiitake mushrooms for the ham, or stir in some cubes of feta cheese at the end. The magenta spreen made a colorful garnish for this fresh and filling dish.

Wheatberries with Snap Peas and Ham

1 cup wheatberries
2 large handfuls of snap peas
1/3 cup ham cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 mint leaves
splash of sherry
salt and pepper to taste
magenta spreen or other salad greens for garnish

1. To cook the wheatberries, combine one cup of grain with two cups of salted water and simmer, covered for one and a quarter hours. Taste for firmness and continue cooking until it reaches the desired consistency, maintaining a firm bite. If there's some water remaining, you can boil it off towards the end with the pot uncovered, or drain the cooked grains in a fine mesh colander.

2. Remove the stems from the snap peas and slice into thirds. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the ham cubes and saute for a minute. Add the snap peas and saute for about 5 minutes until the snap peas turn more green but before they lose their crunch. Add one cup of cooked wheatberries, reserving the rest for another use. Stir to coat, then add a splash of sherry and let this boil off. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with a garnish of salad greens.

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