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Ella Mittas' Istanbul-Inspired Wheat And Stone Fruit Salad

Food

Last week we introduced you to Ella Mittas, the emerging young chef serving up Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare with an emphasis on sharing. Coming to cooking after a university degree in creative writing, Ella worked in Melbourne kitchens to learn the basics before cutting her teeth in Turkey and Greece. Spending extended stints living and working in both countries, Ella’s collection of unpretentious, healthy, TASTY food reflects the sights, sounds, flavours and scents of adventures across the Aegean.

The recipes in Ella’s food series this month are intended to be enjoyed as dishes that make up a big, shared meal, but can, of course, be enjoyed independently. See Ella’s recipe for pickled sardines and fava bean dip for the beginnings of this feast!

Today Ella shares with us a recipe for a well balanced, robust salad wheat and stone fruit salad. While the dish works best with nectarines or peaches, Ella has offered off-season substitutes as the weather starts to cool down.

12th March, 2019

Ingredients ready to prepare the salad (but don’t forget to soak the wheat overnight!). Dinner Bowl by Asobimasu Clay from Makers Mrkt. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

This simple salad is a perfect balance of sweet, savoury and sour flavours. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Stone fruit can be subbed out for citrus in winter or dried fruit. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Ella Mittas spent years working in kitchens in both Turkey and Greece, where the inspiration for many of her recipes come from. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Enjoyed here with the pickled sardines from last week! Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Lucy Feagins. Styling Assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

“Istanbul, for someone interested in food, is a sensory overload.”

Istanbul, for someone interested in food, is a sensory overload. Street vendors selling buttery chicken pilaf on every corner, window fronts full of baklava dripping with syrup. This salad is inspired by my time working there. It incorporates sweet, savoury and sour flavours to find balance. It works best in summer when stone fruits are abundant, but you can use whatever mix of fruit you like.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1 1/2 cups wheat
1 handful crushed pistachios
1 cup diced fruit of your choice. Mixed stone fruit works well. In winter, you can use citrus or dried fruit.
1/2 bunch spring onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
100g feta, crumbled over salad for garnish (optional)
A large pinch of isot, which can be found at Middle Eastern grocers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Soak you wheat overnight. This will help with reducing cooking time but also helps to get a better texture in your grain.

The next day, in a large pot combine the wheat with enough water to cover it. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered until tender. Drain and let cool.

Toast the pistachios in an oven at 160 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat, pistachios, fruit, herbs, spring onions, herbs, liquids, isot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve garnished with herbs and feta over the top of the salad.

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