Grains, greens, and wild game form a partnership in this power lunch from Dakota’s (600 N. Akard), an urban enclave deep in the heart of downtown Dallas. Dakota’s bills itself as a new American grill, its menu running the gamut from homey to nouvelle.
Executive chef Jim Severson is particularly fond of this seasonal salad, a successful merger of avocado, red cabbage, arugula, blue cheese, and cooked whole grains, including wheat berries, barley, buckwheat, and rye. “I like that the background tastes don’t overpower the grains,” he says. “When you’re finished, you feel like you’ve done something good for yourself.” On the side, try venison sausage quesadillas topped with nutty toasted-pumpkin-seed salsa.
3 quarts water
4 cups mixed grains (soft wheat berries, hard wheat berries, buckwheat groats, rye, and barley)
1 cup diced avocado
1 cup diced yellow pepper
1 cup chopped arugula
1 cup finely diced red cabbage
4 tablespoons finely crumbled blue cheese
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Bring water and grains to boil, then simmer 20 to 25 minutes until cooked but still firm. Drain and cool.
Toss grains with remaining ingredients. Serves 8.
Venison Sausage Quesadillas
6 ounces venison link sausage, finely diced (pork sausage may be substituted)
8 flour tortillas, 6 to 8 inches
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces vegetable oil
Cook sausage and drain fat.
On 4 tortillas, place 1 1/2 ounces sausage, 2 ounces cheese, sprinkle of cilantro, and jalapeño to taste. Season and cover with other tortillas; cook in moderately hot skillet with just enough oil to coat bottom. Brown both sides, rotating periodically. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges and serve.
Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salsa
1/2 cup whole shelled pumpkin seeds
3 medium tomatoes, cored
1 small onion, peeled and cored
1 medium poblano chile
1 medium jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Toast pumpkin seeds in shallow pan in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. Over gas flame or on hot grill, char tomatoes, onion, and chiles. Seed and stem chiles. Place in bowl and break up with hands or spoon. Mix in remaining ingredients, then rough-purée in food processor or blender to chunky consistency. Serve warm. Yields approximately 3 cups.
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