"I love the way wheat berries pop in your mouth," Octavio Becerra says. Made from unhulled wheat kernels, nutty-flavored wheat berries are particularly sublime in this recipe, combined with crispy pancetta, sweet-tart oven-roasted apples and a syrupy reduction of cider and cider vinegar.
Terrific Green Salads
1 1/2 cups wheat berries
12 cups water
1/2 pound thinly sliced pancetta
5 Fuji apples—peeled, halved, cored and cut into 8 wedges each (2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups fresh apple cider
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, toast the wheat berries over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit off the heat for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, arrange the pancetta slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until browned and crisp. Using tongs, transfer the pancetta to a plate to cool, shaking the slices to release excess fat onto the baking sheet.
Toss the apples with the pancetta fat and arrange them on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the apples for about 1 1/2 hours, turning once, until tender.
Meanwhile, drain the wheat berries. Heat the olive oil in the saucepan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wheat berries and remaining 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the wheat berries are tender, about 45 minutes.
While the wheat berries simmer, boil the apple cider and cider vinegar in a large saucepan over high heat until reduced to a syrup, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter.
Drain the wheat berries and transfer to a bowl. Toss with the reduced apple cider. Chop the pancetta and fold it in along with the apples. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the parsley and serve.
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