Moroccan Grains and Greens Salad

fuel for firefighters

Oh no. Here comes Sarah comes with all the greens and grains again. Tough. Somebody's got to be on Fiber Patrol.

If I have my act together, I like to make a big ol' sturdy salad on the weekends. Pasta, couscous, bean. In the last year, I've been into chewy, complex carbs like barley, farro, and wheat berries. They hold up a long time, stay in separate grains, and will keep your firefighter husband full for his sexy work. He HATES it when I talk about him here, and would prefer I stick to my "Don't Bore Your Readers with Cloying Stories about your Husband" rule. But I love to picture him in his navy uniform and duty boots, jumping off the rig to help someone. I've never considered myself one of those people that swoons over men in uniform, but that was before I saw Yancey in one.

And I can't think of anyone I'd rather see in an emergency. I have a few friends that have had to call 9-1-1 lately. They report feeling very connected to the first responders who traipsed into their houses. Such vulnerability in that moment--it really matters what those first few minutes are like. Lucky, those residents in the square miles around Yancey's station. And lucky he's got a cooking fool for a wife. Just doing my part.

I have made countless versions of this salad, using what's around or whatever designer grain everyone's eating. The dressing is what makes this one memorable--preserved lemons, a harissa spice blend I got at World Spice Merchants. There's an eensy weensy chance you might not have those in your pantry, so just sub lemon juice and smoked paprika. If you don't have smoked paprika...Well, then. Rectify that.

Here's to all the folks in the world who need to be fortified for their hard work--parents, daycare workers, bus drivers, restaurant staff, teachers, utility workers, architects, nurses, contractors, and yes--those sexy first responders.

moroccan grains and greens

Moroccan Grains and Greens Salad
This will keep in your fridge for a good 5 days. Once it gets cold, I find it needs a little drizzle of olive oil and another sprinkle of salt. And the feta is optional. I adore feta and am always looking for a reason to eat it, but Yancey could take it or leave it.

2 c. whole grain (barley, Israeli couscous, farro, etc.)
4 c. finely chopped leafy grains (kale, collards, mustard greens)
1 bunch curly parsley, stemmed, washed, and coarsely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 c. coarsely chopped green olives
1/2  c. coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
1/2 c. sunflower seeds, raw or roasted
1 c. halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 c. crumbled feta

For dressing:
2 cloves minced garlic
3 Tb. chopped preserved lemon (or 1 Tb. lemon zest)
4 Tb. liquid from preserved lemon (or juice of one lemon)
2 Tb. Harissa paste or dried Harissa spice blend (or smoked paprika)
Tb. honey
1/2 c. olive oil
freshly ground pepper
kosher salt (only if you didn't use preserved lemon liquid, which is very salty)

To cook the grain, put a big pot of water on the stove to boil. Dump in a healthy dose of salt and add the grain. Cook until tender, depending on the grain. I used barley this week (45 minutes) and Israeli couscous the next (10 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine cooked grain with all the other ingredients.

To make dressing, whisk together. everything but olive oil. Add olive oil in a stream, adding more of anything to taste. Pour over salad and gently mix.