I discovered freekeh during a time in my cooking career when I was searching for new grains to work with. I love the roasted green wheat’s earthy, smoky flavor and ability to act like farro in a grain salad or like rice in risotto-type dishes. Here, I serve the toothsome grain in a late-summer salad with crisp green beans and chanterelles cooked in brandy and butter. The full-flavored huckleberry vinaigrette ties everything together with a hint of sweetness. (You can substitute blueberries if you can’t find huckleberries.) You will have leftover vinaigrette; use it to punch up everyday green salads or spoon it over grilled chicken or pork. — Adam Sappington
Recipes and Photos from HEARTLANDIA by Adam and Jackie Sappington. Copyright © 2015 by Adam Sappington and Jackie Sappington. Photography © 2015 by John Valls. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, purée 1/4 cup of the huckleberries. (You should have about 3 tablespoons purée.) In a small bowl or large glass measuring cup, combine the purée with the vinegar, thyme, and shallots. Whisk to combine while slowly pouring in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir the remaining 1 3/4 cups huckleberries into the vinaigrette and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the freekeh with 4 cups salted water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the freekeh is tender but still has some bite to it, about 12 minutes. Drain the freekeh, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
Meanwhile, using a pastry brush, gently clean any dirt off the chanterelles. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the butter until it melts. Add the chanterelles and a pinch of salt and, once they start sizzling, add the brandy and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chanterelles are firm and meaty and all the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 20 minutes. (If you are using early season chanterelles in July, cook them for 20 minutes. If you are using late season chanterelles in the fall, cook them for 10 minutes.) Remove the skillet from the heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
While the chanterelles are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice and water, salt the water, and set aside. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to the ice water bath and chill until cold. Drain and set aside.
Divide the chanterelles among four plates and top each serving with about 1/2 cup of the freekeh. In a medium bowl, toss the green beans with some of the vinaigrette. Arrange the green beans in haystack-like piles on top of the freekeh. Drizzle additional vinaigrette around the plate. (Reserve any remaining vinaigrette for another use. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to 4 days.) Garnish each plate with the arugula and shaved cheese and dig in.