Oh, how I’d love to slip away to Melbourne for a weekend! Alas! Quick visits to Australia are out of reach for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere. But all is not lost. My memories and pictures bring me back to the mosaic floors of Melbourne’s elegant covered passages and its iconic street art. And in my Kentucky kitchen, I revisit a stunning meal shared with my good friends Stephanie and Jeremy.
Each and every dish at Rumi Restaurant was exquisite—creamy labne, cheese-filled pastry “cigars”, meatballs in tomato and saffron sauce. But one dish stood out, and I’ve been recreating it for months. Each time it evokes early Australian autumn, merriment, and friendship. This salad is made with a Middle Eastern grain called freekeh. Chewy and slightly nutty, freekeh is a substantial grain. Serve it as a vegetarian main or in verrines as a savory-sweet starter. The juicy grapes beautifully juxtapose the tart feta. The pomegranate molasses lends a slight, deep sweetness. The parsley adds a vegetative touch that unifies the salad.
Freekeh, Grape, and Feta salad comes together fairly easily and has the power to awaken memories. Bon appétit!