My husband’s favorite foods are white and mushy. He hates it when I say this, but it’s true. Mashed potatoes, sour cream, vanilla ice cream, macaroni salad, cream cheese, etc., you name it, he likes it. I didn’t think I’d fool him with a healthy, off-white alternative when I made a hearty winter salad of white beans and frumento wheat berries for lunch, but he dove in happily. It made a satisfying entry for this week’s Dark Days winter local food challenge.
The pot beans (tarbais from Ayers Creek Farm) were soaked in water, then simmered with onion, celery, and bay. When they were finished, I tossed them with olive oil, homemade chili pepper vinegar, garlic, winter savory and arugula (the only greens in my garden that survived our recent cold snap), and frumento cooked in a second pot in a similar fashion.
The frumento, soft red wheat berries that also hail from Ayers Creek, split and become full and nutty when boiled in well-salted water with aromatic vegetables and herbs. I swear they tasted as if I had cooked them with bacon, but the dish is a completely vegetarian concoction. And all local, except for the salt and olive oil!
I’m going to have fun trying more recipes with frumento. I think it would make a lovely local alternative to bulgar wheat for tabbuleh.