Recipe: Cauliflower & Date White Sonora Berry Salad with Creamy Walnut and Caper Pesto
From Emma Zimmerman's 'The Miller's Daughter'
Cauliflower & Date White Sonora Berry Salad with Creamy Walnut and Caper Pesto
(From Emma Zimmerman's 'The Miller's Daughter')
This is a departure from my usual grain salad formula (wheat berry, fruit, cheese, nuts and vinaigrette), where the wheat berries generally take the place of greens. In this dish, they stand in for pasta, echoing an Israeli couscous salad, with the coarse pesto adding texture and a punchy flavor. This versatile salad can be served either warm or chilled.
200 g (7 oz/1 cup) White Sonora Wheat Berries
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
3 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Italian (flat-leaf ) parsley leaves, to garnish (optional)
WALNUT AND CAPER PESTO
130 g (41/2 oz/1 cup) walnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch Italian (flat-leaf ) parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
50 g (13/4 oz/1/2 cup) grated parmesan
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed if salt-packed
grated zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).
Place the White Sonora berries in a large saucepan, along with 960 ml (321/2 fl oz/4 cups) water, and simmer over a medium heat for 40–60 minutes until the berries expand into small spheres like large Israeli couscous. Drain and leave to cool completely. If you cook the berries ahead of time, store them in their cooking liquid in the fridge for up to a week.
Toss together the cauliflower, dates, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Spread them out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender when tested with a fork. Set aside to cool slightly (or completely if you prefer a cold salad).
Meanwhile, to make the pesto, place all the ingredients and 120 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) water in a food processor and pulse to a coarse paste. I like to leave some texture to create a nice mouthfeel in the final dish.
Toss together the cooled wheat berries, roasted cauliflower and date mixture and pesto in a large bowl, garnish with extra parsley, if desired, and serve.
Excerpted with permission from The Miller’s Daughter by Emma Zimmerman, photos by David Alvarado, published by Hardie Grant Books, May 2022.