I went to Amy Tan’s house for an Asian Pacific Fund charity dinner, which was meticulously prepared by an amazing amateur team led by Lance Lew, whose day job is director and producer of Asian Pacific America’s weekly show on NBC Bay Area. The four-course dinner was a perfect melding of East and West flavors such as dried salted plum powder with pan seared scallops, pappardelle in black bean garlic Alfredo. Innovative yet not fussy, it was one of the most delicious meals that I have had for a long time. More power to passionate amateur chefs! Cooking is an integral and enjoyable part of life, not a show or a competition requiring hard-to-pronounce ingredients or a showbiz personality.
At the end of the dinner, Amy asked us to take some Meyer lemons from her abundant harvest. Those are some of the most fragrant and juicy lemons that I have ever tasted and I decided to put it to good use right away in this Oriental Wheat Salad. Oriental wheat is an ancient grain also called Khorasan wheat or kamut, and it contains more proteins, lipids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals than modern wheat. It is also nutty and chewy and twice the size of other kinds of wheat.
This Oriental Wheat Salad is satisfying as a vegetarian meal in one dish, or it can be enjoyed as a side dish for grilled meats. It is really simple to make and very yummy.
Lemony Oriental Wheat Salad
Ingredients for Salad:
1 cup uncooked kamut, cooked in 3 cups water, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 stocks celery, finely diced
1 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
Pepper to taste
Ingredients for Dressing:
Juicy from 1 large lemon, about 2 1/2 tablespoon
2 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cook the grain in a rice cooker or in a pot with 3 cups of water, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon olive oil.
Mix the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
When the grain is done, let it cook to room temperature. Mix with the celery, parsley, walnuts and apricots.
Toss gently with the dressing and let sit for 20 minutes for the dressing to be soaked into the grain.
If you don’t have kamut, wheat berries or farro will work very well for this recipe too.