Freekeh has been one of my favorite whole grains since I first tried it at a Turkish Cultural Foundation event in Istanbul three years ago. Freekeh is immature wheat that is picked while it is still green and then roasted and cracked. The roasting process is what gives freekeh its smoky flavor that actually reminds me a little bit of bacon whenever I eat it. Freekeh can be found at many stores throughout the U.S.- I used the brand Freekeh Foods.
Freekeh is cooked just like rice and only takes about 20 minutes to make. It works great as a side dish, but I also love it in place of bulgur in my Ezogelin soup recipe. In the recipe below, I've simplified a New York Times freekeh recipe to make something that can be thrown together a little more quickly, and topped it with a big piece of salmon to make a more complete meal.
~1 pound salmon filets (or fish of choice) (~1/2 kg)
1 cup freekeh (160 grams)
2 cups water (474 mL)
1/2 teaspoon salt (2-3 grams)
1 large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil (30 grams)
1, 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (425 grams)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (1 gram)
- In a medium sized pot, toast the uncooked freekeh over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot with lid.
- Allow freekeh to cook about 20 minutes, until water is absorbed. Then remove from heat and place a kitchen towel between the lid and pot, and let sit for another 10 minutes.
- Add the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, chickpeas, and cumin to the freekeh and mix together. Taste and adjust flavorings as needed. (Note: I like to save myself from all the chopping, so I put the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor and blend them into a pesto-like mixture.)
- To cook the fish, season both sides with salt and pepper. Then, heat a small amount of butter (1 pat) in a cast-iron or non-stick pan. When the butter is starting to sizzle, lay the fish (scale side up) on top of the butter. Reduce heat to medium and allow the salmon to sit for about 5-7 minutes before flipping it to the other side, and cooking another 2-3 minutes.
- Serve salmon hot on bed of freekeh & chickpea salad.