There’s more than one jewel in Jesse Gerner’s crown. He’s the Melbourne based chef who co-owns CBD tapas bar and rooftop Bomba. Small Spanish bites continue at Nomada and then there’s also all-day eatery Park Street Dining and hip wine store Samuel Pepys, which he owns with partners Kelly O’Loghlen, Andrew Fisk and Shane Barrett.
None of this though would be possible without the success of Añada, Gerner’s first restaurant. In the cosy Fitzroy tapas bar you can take a load off with glasses of zesty albarino, followed by stuffed calamari, perfect cubes of black pudding topped with quail eggs and crispy shallots or beef cheeks braised in Pedro Ximénez sherry. Añada turned ten in February, a rare milestone for any venue. Here, Gerner shares a quick grain salad he serves at Bomba and Añada, with variations that rotate seasonally.
"I love this salad – it's ‘freeking’ amazingly versatile and great as a healthy lunch or with anything from the wood grill or barbeque,” says Gerner. “You can easily do any variation to dress it up or down, depending what you’re serving it with."
Serves 4 mains or 8 side dishes
2 cups of freekeh
1 head of broccoli
1 cup of roasted almonds
1 red onion, finely diced
1 pomegranate, deseeded (cut it in half, whack the skin with a spoon and all the little jewels will fall out)
5tbsp olive oil
2tbsp lemon juice
1 handful of mint
1 handful of parsley
1 handful of dill
Salt and pepper
To make the freekeh salad, soak, wash and rinse the freekeh then bring it to boil in at least 1.5 litres of water. If using cracked grain, simmer for 10–15 minutes. Wholegrain will take 40–45 minutes. Strain and season.
Cut broccoli into small florets, then blanch for 2 minutes. Refresh in cold water with ice if you have it.
Finely dice the red onion and add the rest of the salad ingredients. Taste again for seasoning.