And so another food obsession begins: this time, it’s freekeh.
Freekeh (pronounced FREE-kah) is an ancient grain that is typically made with durum wheat that has been harvested while still green (not the slightly greenish hue of the grain in my photo below).
What happens next in the harvesting process make the grassy flavor of the grain even more notable: it is fire-threshed, which lends the freekeh a subtle smokiness (yum!) and cracked (for texture and faster cooking).
Freekeh is a cinch to cook–prepare it much like rice or bulgur, pilaf-style, or cook and drain like pasta (my favorite method). Just like any grain, you can let your imagination run wild with the flavor possibilities: salads (warm or cold), pilafs, risotto (freekotto? J How fun is that?), in soups, as breakfast porridge, you name it.
I paired it with some super-ripe peaches and basil, the latter of which amped up the grassy flavors of the grain. And because few things thrill my palate more than the combination of citrus with smoke, I added a quick lime vinaigrette to pull everything together.
- 2–1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup cracked freekeh (bulgur will work, too)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime zest
- 1–1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey (agave for vegans)
- 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1–1/22 cups packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts or almonds
- In a medium sauce over medium high heat, bring water and salt to a boil; add the freekeh. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, fluff and let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice and honey.
- To the cooled freekeh, add the peaches and cranberries; season to taste with salt and pepper. If serving right away, add the basil and nuts; otherwise, refrigerate and add remaining ingredients just before serving.
- Category: Salad, Side-dish