Warm Freekeh Salad with Fig, Feta & Caramelized Onions
I prepared this dish at a recent cooking demonstration during an event hosted by Lebanese Wines at Atelier des Chefsin London. It was incredibly popular and even though I’d made double the quantity required, we actually ran out within the first hour. It’s a lovely salad made from freekeh, which is ideally served warm. The smoky nuttiness of the freekeh is balanced by the sweetness of the figs and the tangy feta. And then there’s the caramelized onions, which I find make everything taste better, and for a nice finish a tart lacing of verjuice. It’s a great dish to serve as a canape, a side dish or a filling mid-week main.
- 250g/9oz cleaned, wholegrain green wheat freekeh
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 red onions, finely sliced
- pinch of allspice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp verjuice
- 100g/31/2oz/1/2 cup chopped dried figs
- 100g/31/2oz feta cheese, crumbled
- coriander, parsley or mint, to sprinkle
- sea salt
- Put the freekeh in a saucepan with about 600ml/21fl oz/21/2 cups water and season with salt. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the freekeh is cooked to your liking. If the freekeh is too wet, drain off the excess water.
- While the freekeh is simmering, heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, add the onions and fry until golden and caramelized. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel and set aside.
- Season the freekeh with the allspice, and add more salt if required. Stir in the olive oil and verjuice and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Once the freekeh is cooked, divide it between 4 small individual dishes and top with the figs, caramelized onions and feta cheese, then sprinkle with coriander and serve as part of a selection of canapés. Alternatively, serve all the ingredients mixed together in a bowl, with the exception of the feta (it disintegrates easily), which can be crumbled over the top.