I got a big bag of huge rutabagas from Harvest Share. Just so you know, in England, they call rutabagas swedes, and this Swedish-American can remember stopping at a roadside vegetable stand on the way to my uncle’s house in the fall and Dad buying some rutabagas, peeling them and cutting them into chunks, and we would eat them raw, the way some people eat apples. I have always loved rutabaga and think it might be in my genes.
Still, I wanted to create something new. I was thinking about Dad and how very Swedish they are and thought it might be interesting to use caraway which anyone who has tasted aquavit knows can be a fabulous, vibrant flavor that Swedes love. This made me think of caraway cake and how much I like adding lemon zest for a brighter flavor and from this came this new recipe, a lemon, caraway, and maple dressing that is a revelation.
Start by making the wheatberries since they take the longest time and must cool before you make the salad.
To make wheatberries, put one cup of wheatberries in a sauce pan, add 3 cups of water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and put the lid on the pan. Check back after 30 minutes and then keep checking until they are chewy. It can take up to 50 minutes or so, depending on the specific kind of wheat. Some people like toasting the wheatberries for 10 to 15 minutes in a medium oven (350°) before boiling them to make them more aromatic and nuttier. I am usually too impatient and don’t think it makes a big enough flavor difference.
After the wheatberries are tender, drain in a colander, run cold water over them and let them drain until they are dry and cool. You can store in the fridge if you like.
Prepare the vegetables.
Meanwhile, peel and dice one large rutabaga into 1/2 square pieces. Rutabaga is kind of tough, so I cut 1/2 inch slices, stack them and slice into 1/2 wide sticks, and then cut the sticks. Should be about 2 cups.
Peel and dice 1 cup of carrots
Spread on a flat cookie sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes at 450°. Check after 10 minutes because you want them just tender enough without changing color or becoming soft. This is a crunchy salad, not a tender one.
Peel and dice one medium yellow onion. Don’t bake the onion!
Prepare the dressing.
Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add two teaspoons of caraway seed and toast until the aroma permeates the air. Add 1 TBSP of olive oil and continue to heat for about a minute, so the caraway flavors the oil. Squeeze the juice of one small lemon, stir and add 2 TBSP of maple syrup and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Remove from heat, add the zest of the lemon.
Mix everything together.
Add the onions, baked rutabaga and carrot chunks to the wheatberries, stir together and pour the dressing over the salad. Put a lid on the container and shake, distributing the dressing. Store in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.
So this is delicious. The maple-caraway-lemon dressing is everything and goes so well with the rutabaga. There is a brightness to the salad and the caraway has a homey, familiar flavor.
I actually doubled the wheatberry recipe in order to make two salads because anything that takes up to 50 minutes to cook on the stove is a big time investment in my opinion, so I want to make it worth it.