Freaky Food? No, Just a Freekeh Salad from Salad for Dinner by Jeanne Kelley

No reason to freak out, you read Freekeh, a grain I have not heard of until now and the star of this recipe from Salad for Dinner 'Complete Meals for All Seasons by Jeanne Kelley (Rizzoli USA, April 2012).

I previously shared her Singapore Style Raw Fish Salad as well as her Green Goddess Salad and with Persian Cucumbers.

Here comes the

FREEKEH SALAD with Apricots, Grilled Halloumi, and Zucchini
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 6 SERVINGS
Freekeh, a tasty Levantine grain, is made from green wheat that is sun dried and toasted by burning the chaff. The toasty flavor pairs nicely with grilled zucchini and salty halloumi cheese. Halloumi, a firm grilling and frying cheese from Cyprus, can be purchased, along with the freekeh, at a Middle Eastern market, but it’s also turning up at more and more specialty markets and even supermarkets. If you prefer, crumbled feta cheese makes a nice substitution. When fresh apricots are not in season, use thinly sliced dried apricots instead.

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing
2 cups freekeh
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 pounds zucchini (about 3 or 4), cut lengthwise into quarters
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (8.8-ounce) package halloumi cheese, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed
4 firm-ripe apricots, pitted and sliced
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds or pistachios
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


HEAT 2 TABLESPOONS olive oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the freekeh and stir until the grains are coated with olive oil and lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add 31/2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until water is level with the freekeh and holes appear in the center of the cooking grain, about 10 minutes. Cover and simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed and the freekeh is tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the freekeh to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.

Prepare a grill to medium-high heat or heat a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush all sides of the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin seed, cinnamon, and some kosher salt. Brush the halloumi generously with olive oil. Grill the zucchini and halloumi until the zucchini is well browned on all sides and tender, turning occasionally, and the halloumi is browned on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the vinegar and garlic to blend. Add the dressing to the freekeh along with the apricots, green onions, almonds, and parsley. Cut the zucchini and the halloumi into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the salad. Mix briefly to combine and serve. (The salad can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Salad for Dinner' Complete Meals for All Seasons by Jeanne Kelley- published by Rizzoli USA, April 2012- Photos by Ryan Robert Miller, all rights reserved)

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