Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cooking Club: Insalata di Grano con Pomodoro, Tonno, e Capperi

This next recipe has a title that's a tongue twister. It means roughly or maybe exacatly Wheat Berries with Tomatoes, Tuna, and Capers. This is a recipe that Raelynn submitted. The picture, taken by Rachel, is shown served in a pita-which is how I think I am going to do make it.

Insalata di Grano con Pomodoro, Tonno, e Capperi
by Anna Tasca Lanza from The Flavors of Sicily

1 cup wheat berries (MY NEW INGREDIENT)
1 bay leaf
Zest of 1/2 orange or lemon, in 1 piece or strips
1 pound ripe tomatoes (or 1 can whole tomatoes)
1 can albacore or solid white tuna fish, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, mint, or whatever you have, chopped

Rinse the wheat berries, discarding any chaff. Soak in hot water to cover by 3/4 inch for 24 hours, changing the water twice. Drain and rinse the berries. Put them in a heavy saucepan with enough fresh water to cover by at least 2 inches. Add the bay leaf, orange zest, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the grains are separate and tender, like rice, neither mushy nor al dente, 30 to 45 minutes. Check frequently after 30 minutes. Drain, discarding the bay leaf and zest. Let wheat berries cool thoroughly.

Peel, seed, and roughly chop the tomatoes (or chop canned tomatoes). Place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and sugar, and let stand for at least 20 minutes.

Put the tuna in a serving bowl and flake it. Add the capers, onion, garlic, pepper, salt to taste, and the lemon juice. Add the tomatoes and toss thoroughly. Stir in the olive oil; add the wheat berries and half of the herbs. Let stand for several hours, if possible. Just before serving, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup herbs on top. Will keep well for a few days. (I'd be surprised to see any freshly chopped herbs keep for a few days in something like this...)

Raelynn's NOTES:

I read that some people find soaking wheat berries unnecessary. You can boil them for an hour and they will be fine, though I would read the packaging on whatever you end up buying. I probably won't soak them, just plan ahead to boil them.

You can eat this over mixed greens, as is, or in pitas. Just some serving ideas.

I buy capers for other things, but don't feel bad if you want to leave them out.


  1. I'd pretty much eat anything, but given that I am a tuna freak, I'd definitely eat that.

  2. I made it today...anxious for dinner. The sample I snuck was delish!

  3. I wonder if my kids will eat it if I learn to pronounce it. Sounds very interesting but I would have to leave out the capers!

  4. wheat berries - o have never heard of it and I doubt I'll be able to find it in the UK! looks yum though!

  5. I've never tried wheat berries, but that sure looks good.