Whole grains. To many of us the term sounds as thrilling as “homework” or “dentist appointment” or “oh my God, it’s almost April and I still haven’t done my taxes yet.” We know we should eat more whole grains, but why can’t they taste more like french fries?
My friends, I am here to give you the good news, because they can. In Ann Taylor Pittman’s new cookbook, Everyday Whole Grains, she reveals the golden path to liking this good-for-you food. You can deep-fry millet and other grains, and they’ll still be good for you. Mind blown, right? Me too! Here’s a recipe for a crispy millet salad that won’t make you feel like you’re doing your taxes.
Crispy millet salad with roasted radishes, asparagus and poached eggs
From Everyday Whole Grains
Perfect for a light spring meal, this warm salad features two of the season’s loveliest vegetables. If you’ve never tried roasted radishes, you’re in for a treat: Roasting makes them sweeter with a juicy texture. Instead of the fried millet, you can use any fried grain you like; I just prefer a small one like millet, quinoa or bulgur.
Hands-on time: 8 minutes | Total time: 23 minutes
- 1 pound medium-width asparagus spears, trimmed
- 9 Easter egg (multicolored) radishes, trimmed (about 1 bunch)
- 2-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup crunchy fried millet (see below)
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place asparagus and radishes on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roast at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes or until crisp tender and lightly browned, stirring after 8 minutes.
- Combine 1-1/2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, thyme, mustard and pepper in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add 1 tablespoon vinaigrette to crunchy fried millet; toss to coat.
- Divide radish mixture evenly among 4 plates; drizzle remaining vinaigrette evenly over salads. Spoon about 3 tablespoons crunchy fried millet mixture over each salad.
- Add water to a large skillet, filling two-thirds full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer. Break each egg into a custard cup. Gently pour eggs into pan; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Carefully remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon, placing 1 egg on each salad.
Crunchy fried grains
This is my favorite discovery, my favorite technique in this book — and you’ll see it used in several of the recipes. Yes, as the recipe title indicates, I am deep-frying whole grains. Why? First off, don’t worry. If you keep the oil temperature as hot as specified, the grains don’t absorb much oil: This does not take whole grains into unhealthy territory. More importantly, frying turns whole grains into the crunchiest, most wildly delicious little nuggets with amazing recipe versatility. They’re great on creamy soups, in salads, on casseroles and as breading. They’re also a great substitute for nuts — good for folks with allergies.
Fried grains keep beautifully: up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature, or for three to four months in the freezer. I now always keep at least two types on hand (in the freezer) — one finer/smaller grain like quinoa, and a larger one like farro — and I’ll sprinkle a little over yogurt, stir some into ice cream, top my mac and cheese with it and use it anywhere else where I yearn for some crunch. The technique works best with quinoa, barley, farro, spelt, millet and brown rice, and the frying time is the same for all.
Makes about 3 cups
Hands-on time: 30 minutes | Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes
- 3 cups cooked whole grains (see suggested grains above)
- 6 cups canola oil or peanut oil
- Line a jelly-roll pan with several layers of paper towels. Spread cooked grains out into a thin layer on paper towels. Let stand 1 to 2 hours to dry out surface moisture, stirring grains occasionally.
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven until a thermometer submerged in the oil registers 375 degrees F. Do not use a smaller pot (moisture in the grains will cause the oil to bubble up vigorously). Add 1/2 cup cooked grains to oil; do not add more than this, or oil may bubble over. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until grains are browned and crisp; do not allow temperature of oil to drop below 350 degrees F. Remove fried grains from pan with a fine wire mesh ladle; drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure with remaining grains, 1/2 cup at a time.
Calories, 270; fat, 19.2 grams (sat, 3.3 grams; mono, 11.4 grams; poly, 3.8 grams); protein, 11 grams; carbs, 15 grams; fiber, 4 grams; sugars, 3 grams (est. added sugars, 0 grams); cholesterol, 186 milligrams; iron, 4 milligrams; sodium, 378 milligrams; calcium, 67 milligrams
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