Millet, often referred to as the Queen of Grains, has been cultivated around the world for over 10,000 years. In fact, there is evidence, in the form of fossilized kernels, which suggests millet was more important than rice in the prehistoric diet.
According to Chinese dietary principles the grain is cooling in nature and is both sweet and salty in flavor, allowing it to target and strengthen the function of both the spleen and kidneys. Here it is used as a replacement for either pasta or potatoes in a basic summer salad. It is paired with endive and cucumbers so to help clear summer heat, a common seasonal condition which may manifest as excess body heat, profuse sweating, parched mouth and throat, vexation, heart palpitations and digestive distress.
In addition the pesto-esque mint dressing helps to sooth and spread Qi, which given the importance of the free flow of Qi in our health and wellbeing, is always a very good thing.
P.S. A tepid millet bath is said to sooth sunburn.
Millet Picnic Salad
1 cup millet
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups loosely packed mint leaves
2 tablespoons capers
2 anchovy fillets
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons flaked sea salt, plus more to taste
1 head red endive, thinly sliced
2 small Kirby cucumbers, thinly sliced
Place millet in a medium saucepan set over medium low heat. Toast gently until grains turn golden-brown, they will jump about in the pan. Shake constantly to prevent burning. Add water, cover and simmer until grains are tender and all the water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Combine 1 cup mint, capers, anchovies, lemon and salt in jar of bar blender. Drizzle in oil and blend until smooth.
Combine millet with endive, cucumbers and remaining mint leaves. Add dressing and toss well to combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and squeeze of lemon.
For more healthy, delicious salads, try these all-time favorites.
Frances Boswell is a licensed acupuncturist at her practice, Qi Sera Sera Acupuncture, in New York City. She focuses on a lesser-known branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which identifies poor diet as a common cause of disease. Traditional Chinese Medicine understands that the importance of food goes beyond ingredients' vitamins, mineral, nutrient and caloric content—food has its own energetic and spiritual role in our health. Frances' aim is to teach this ancient wisdom, apply it to everyday cooking, and work with patients to modify their diets, in addition to acupuncture, to help them live, eat, and be well. Contact Frances here.