Freekeh with Hot-smoked Salmon

Less a recipe, more a fridge and cupboard raid, but a godsend when you want a summery supper with minimum effort. If it’s still raining where you are, put a woolly on and pretend you’re at the British seaside. A flask of stewed tea helps the illusion but a glass of wine would probably be preferable.

Apart from the veg from the garden, I’ve used ready-made ingredients. You can, of course, hot-smoke your own salmon and cook the freekeh from scratch but at the end of a long day at work I refuse to be shamed for taking short cuts.

You can easily amend the recipe to what you have on hand. Today is traditionally the last day for cutting English asparagus, so if you can’t find any, you might enjoy tender-crisp French beans instead. Chuck in some garlic scapes if you have them, maybe griddle some spring onions if not. If you prefer, swap the freekeh for brown or wild rice or bulgur wheat.

Vegetarians might like to substitute goat’s cheese or mozzarella for the salmon, vegans can add toasted pine nuts or roughly chopped pistachios. Either way, a crisp green salad is good on the side.

Freekeh with Hot-smoked Salmon

  • Servings: 2-3 as a main
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250g cooked freekeh

Zest of 1 lemon and and juice of 1/2

1 tbs good olive oil, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

150g asparagus, woody ends snapped off

50g garlic scapes (optional), topped and tailed

100g broad beans, podded weight (about 300g unpodded)

50g cherry tomatoes, halved

30g fresh parsley, leaves picked, roughly chopped

150g hot-smoked salmon


Tip the freekeh into a bowl and dress with the lemon zest and juice and a little olive oil. Ready-cooked freekeh is already quite oily, so add according to taste, along with salt and pepper. Set to one side for it to absorb the flavours.

Blanch the asparagus, and the garlic scapes if using, in boiling water for one minute. Do them separately otherwise the garlic flavour will spoil the asparagus. Run under cold water to arrest cooking, drain and pat dry.

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the broad beans, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. They should still be young and tender at this time of year but if they’re big and tough, double pod them. Run under cold water, drain and set aside.

Heat a dry griddle pan to medium-high and cook the asparagus in batches until char marks appear, four or five minutes. Remove, then add a small drizzle of oil to the pan and toss the garlic scapes until tender and tinged with brown. Cut both vegetables into manageable lengths and set aside.

Stir the chopped parsley, broad beans, asparagus, garlic scapes and cherry tomatoes into the freekeh. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, oil or lemon juice if it needs it. Separate the salmon into largish chunks and carefully mix in, trying not to break it up too much.

I think this is best eaten straight away but if necessary it will hold in the fridge for an hour or two. Bring it back to room temperature for 20 minutes before eating to appreciate the flavours.

4 thoughts on “Freekeh with Hot-smoked Salmon

  1. A perfect dish for me ! Use a lot of freekeh lately and love bulgur . . . wild rice is just too expensive for all but occasional use Down Under. Don’t use nearly enough broad beans but shall . . . now to see when scapes are available . . .

  2. Now I’ll expose my ignorance and tell you I had to Google “freekah”to find out what it is… and now that I’m duly informed, I want to try this lovely recipe. I saw all the ingredients (except for the salmon) in the farmers market this morning, so it’s quite seasonal for us here at the moment…

    • Thank you, Frank, how kind. You can buy freekeh ready-cooked in a packet here in the UK (Merchant Gourmet) which is a handy short-cut if you’re short of time. But freshly cooked is also good! Lx

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