I used to make a winter salad with millet as a base and red cabbage, apple, celery and toasted caraway added to it.
That was when I was in my twenties and living in Bristol and working at a wholefood co-operative in Bath called Harvest Natural Foods.
It’s also nice added to bread – there’s a great recipe in the Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison and Ed Espe Brown.
And American writer and wholefoods guru, Rebecca Wood writes about millet extensively in her book, The Splendid Grain.
She says it has the “most complete protein and significantly more iron than the other true cereal grains”.
It is, according to Rebecca, gluten free and very rich in amino acids, phosphorus and B vitamins.
Well I’ve been meaning to use up about a quarter of a bag of millet that’s been skulking at the back of my cupboard for ages.
I also bought a tin of organic kidney beans this morning which I drained and rinsed and added to the cooked millet along with some left over chopped coriander (cilantro) in the fridge and some diced tomato and cucumber.
This formed the centrepiece of my trio of salads.
The others were a simple Witloof Chicory or Endive salad with apples and walnuts and a steamed Potato salad with red onion and parsley.
I had to peel the apples. They are a variety known as Fiesta.
They are good keepers as are most apples that mature late in the season. But they need peeling because they are developing superficial tiny black spots on the skin.
However the flesh is fairly crisp and has not turned “floury” and they are still delicious.
- 100 gr uncooked millet
- 200 ml water
- 400 gr tin of red kidney beans drained
- 1 medium tomato
- 15 cm medium cucumber
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 3 large potatoes unpeeled
- 1 small red onion
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- I/2 medium lemon (juiced)
- 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large chicon of witloof chicory/endive
- 1 medium apple chopped
- 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp basil infused olive oil or other
- 30 gr walnut halves or pieces
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Put millet in saucepan or wok over a high heat. Toast stirring constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until the millet is aromatic.
Remove from the heat when the first grain pops and pour into a medium sized bowl.
Fill with cold water and rub the grains of millet lightly between your fingers or palms for five seconds of so. Then drain and rinse in a sieve with cold running water until it runs clear.
Bring the water to the boil and add the millet and a pinch of salt. Lower the heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from hob and leave lid in place to stand for 5 minutes.
Fluff up millet with a fork and leave to cool to room temperature.
Add the drained rinsed kidney beans along with diced tomato and diced cucumber.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
Remove three to five whole leaves of chicory and place on serving plate. Chop the rest quartering the chicon along its length first. Put in a medium sized bowl.
Core and chop the apple - peeling if the skin is blemished - otherwise leave it on. Add to the chopped chicory.
Roast walnuts in a dry pan or tin in a hot oven or under the grill - making sure to shake the tin after a couple of minutes to ensure they are evenly browned.
Be careful - they burn very easily. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile take a couple of pinches of salt and toss through the apple and chicory lightly massaging (very lightly!) before adding the cider vinegar. Give it a stir and then add the olive oil and parsley and give it a good stir.
Stir through the chopped roasted walnuts and serve on a flattish plate on the previously reserved whole leaves.
Dice potatoes into cubes about 2 cm square and steam until cooked but still holding their shape (8 - 10 minutes).
Tip into a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Meanwhile squeeze the half a lemon and empty the juice into a small bowl or large shallow cup.
Skin and halve the red onion and then slice along it's length very thinly (the slices should be almost paper thin).
Add to lemon juice and lightly massage the two - this will bring out the bright pink in the red onion and enhance its natural sweetness.
Carefully mix the cooked potato cubes and the onion and lemon juice in a largish bowl - you don't want the potato pieces to mash or break down. Add the chopped parsley or dill or other herbs.
Drizzle some olive oil on the salad and serve.