Okay, okay, I know this salad recipe sounds weird but trust me, it’s yumma-riffic. Plus, it’s one of those salads that’s awesome at room temperature, so you can make it and then focus on gathering the other components of your dinner. Unlike my children, this salad is content to be ignored for a few minutes. I think it would be a great addition to an Indian Summer buffet table. It may be late-September, (how’d we get here, anyways? Man, time’s just hauling ass) but we’re still rocking the mid-80’s, temperature-wise. Yesterday, it was actually 90-freaking-1 outside. I’m not craving anything remotely resembling an apple yet.
If you’re in the mood to shake things up at the dinner table and don’t fear the goat cheese (I know, there are several of you out there who tremble at the mere mention), consider giving this salad a shot. It’s a stunner, it’s good for you, it’s easy, and nectarines are still delicious (but they won’t be for long). So get moving on this one. Roast up a chicken, if you are in the mood, and serve this beauty alongside. We added a nice, cold glass of pinot grigio and called it dinner.
Cracked Wheat Salad with Nectarines, Parsley and Pistachios
adapted from Cooking Light magazine
1 cup uncooked bulgur *
1 cup boiling water*
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced nectarines
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (I actually skipped the dill…not really a fan. I doubled the parsley, though)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (yes, you need white. Use regular, and the color of your salad will be funk)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped pistachios
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Slice nectarines and toss with a little orange juice to prevent browning. Combine the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Add nectarines, and herbs to bulgur. Pour dressing over; toss well. Sprinkle nuts over top.
*I used wheat berries, which I had on hand from my last trip to Whole Foods. I think this salad would also be good with brown rice–any nutty tasting grain would probably do well, actually, as long as you cook the grain as per package directions.
I really enjoyed the different play of textures here–the wheat berries were slightly chewy, the goat cheese added creaminess, the nectarines and herbs added a clean freshness, and that crunch from the chopped pistachios really made things interesting.
Make sure your grain–whichever kind you choose–is cool before adding the dressing, nectarines, herbs and goat cheese–you want each element to stand out distinctly. This salad, because of the nectarines, doesn’t keep long, so it’s best eaten the same day you make it.