spelt salad with courgette ribbons
Mon, 14 October, 2019
Spelt or farro? Not the same thing though both are grains, both are super-nutritious and even good in keto diet. This time spelt is the star of the show, in the gorgeous vegetarian salad with marinated courgette ribbons, dressed with creamy blue cheese and with a crunch of toasted pine nuts.
Grains on my brains currently; and spelt is the newest discovery. When I was a kid, I wouldn’t want to even sniff a dish made with grains, though truth be told, barley was probably the only grain known to me back then.
Today the world of cooking is full of various wonderful (bulgur) and less wonderful (quinoa) cereals that can be made into pilafs or sprinkled onto salads. Spelt is one of those: you’d never have heard of it twenty years ago; it looks suspiciously like barley and I bought it by accident.
Because it is commonly confused with farro which I very much wanted to play with, my online shopping pickers obviously thought spelt WAS farro. Having noticed the mistake a tad too late to run after the delivery driver, I put it in the back of the cupboard intending to return it with my next shopping delivery. I forgot. So it spent a while (weeks not months, rest assured) in that cupboard until I decided I might as well try it as I wouldn’t dream of throwing perfectly good food away.
And I did; and it did turn out to be good food. Spelt is wholesome – that’s probably the best way to describe it. As most grains, it absorbs flavourings and seasoning like a sponge and it turns into very interesting, rudimentary risotto (speltotto?) when smeared with soft blue cheese.
I killed two birds with one stone with this vegetarian dish because I also found another application for hateful (but we love them really) courgettes that every summer bring us zillions of search engine queries ‘what to do with courgettes?’ And this is such a good application that I’m going to repeat it soon in a standalone courgette dish. Sliced on a peeler, slightly dehydrated with salt, marinated with lemon they turn into a wonderful, un-courgette-like experience. And they tasted pleasantly fresh and slippery among all the wholesomeness of the spelt.
I’ve cooked spelt twice again after the first time and like it so much I have yet to taste farro!
spelt salad with courgette ribbonsServings: 2Time: 20 minutes plus marinating courgettes
- 2 medium courgettes, washed, topped and tailed
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 100g (½ cup) quick cook spelt
- 1 tbsp. green nori flakes
- 60g (2 oz.) creamy blue cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp. crème fraiche
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ lemon, juice only
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted (optional)
1. Cut the courgettes into long thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin. Place them in a colander set over a bowl and toss with the salt and the sliced garlic. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the spelt, bring back to the boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes until al dente. Drain, shake off and return to the pan or a serving bowl. Stir in the nori flakes.
3. While the spelt is cooking mash the blue cheese in a bowl with the crème fraiche using a fork, Season generously with black pepper, stir in lemon juice and olive oil, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
4. Stir the dressing into the spelt. Pat the courgette ribbons dry with paper towels and add them to the spelt. Toss the salad using tongs to separate the courgette ribbons and coat them with spelt grains.
5. Divide between individual bowls, sprinkle with pine nuts if using and extra nori flakes, if you wish.