Recently my friend Kristin has us over for dinner and one of the things she served was a really delicious salad which was the nth of simplicity! Small tomatoes from her garden dressed with goat cheese. The next week I bought a basket of small heritage tomatoes, all different colors, and took her idea and ran with it!
Growing up in horse country, in Argentina, one of my childhood pleasures was to find a nice pile of horse manure that had been sitting in the sun, and play with small turds which were the size of my hand. I loved their fresh, alfalfa-y aroma. I would throw them, sort of like playing with bowling balls, I would stomp on them and watch them disintegrate, and in general, have a great time. Well, what in the world is that story doing in a recipe for a salad???? Because the word “crottin“, in French, means exactly what I played with!!! A crottin is simply a turd, and you will have to admit that the little packaged goat cheese crottins sold at the store are about the size and shape of a horse turd. So much for an odd piece of information.
So, raise your hand if you have not heard of freekeh! Something fairly new that is being featured in cooking magazines and upscale restaurant menus…Freekeh is wheat that has been picked green, then smoked or toasted, and cracked. Very healthy, high in protein, and because it is green when harvested, no gluten has developed yet, so there you go! Perfect! You cook it as you would rice, double the volume of water, and after it comes to a boil, turn the heat down and wait for the water to be absorbed. As with rice, the higher up you are in altitude, the longer it will take for the grain to cook. At sea level it takes about 20-25 minutes.
Freekeh makes a nice side dish, great in pilaf, and, as below, a grain salad.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup freekeh
- 1-pound grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 crottin de chèvre
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
- ½ cup garbanzo beans
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil, stir in the freekeh, stir until the water re-boils and immediately cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium low for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the small tomatoes in half, cut the crottin in small pieces and place the tomatoes and cheese in a bowl. The cheese will coat the tomatoes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix.
- When the freekeh is done, stir to fluff, and add to the tomato mixture and stir to blend.
- Allow the combined ingredients a bit of time to meld – at least 30 minutes and even up to the next day or two!