Recipes Inspired by Musicals: The Pirates of Penzance

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Every spring, my girlfriends and I make a trip to the Stratford Festival.  We drive down in the morning, enjoy a patio lunch, see a show, and drive back to Toronto by early evening.  Given the name of the venue, it’s unsurprising that many of the plays they perform were written by William Shakespeare.  And most years that’s what we see.  

This year, however, we got tickets for The Pirates of Penzance.  Gilbert and Sullivan wrote frothy confections of operettas – their shows are full of humour and silliness.  Any play that has a plot based on [spoiler alert] a leap year birthday, and which is resolved by appealing to loyalty for Queen Victoria, can only be described as lighthearted.  The production was full of wit, energy, and beautiful costumes.  And for my Canadian readers, the pivotal role of the Major-General is played by C. David Johnson (Chuck Tchobanian from Street Legal)!

Frederic, the apprentice pirate, meets Mabel in a scene where she and her sisters are looking for a secluded spot for a picnic.  (Need I say that romance ensues between Frederic and Mabel, and there was eventually one pirate for every sister?)  I don’t know what they carried in their picnic basket, but if I was packing one today I’d be sure to bring along this wheat berry salad.  It’s wonderfully delicious, can be made in advance, and has so many great summer flavours. Whether you’re serving a band of pirates or a Major-General, there’s something in this salad for everyone to love.

Wheat Berry Salad
(adapted from Gale Gand’s Brunch; I made a half-sized salad as the original recipe was quite large.)

1/2 cup wheat berries
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup diced yellow or red pepper
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup dried cranberries
one 6-oz can tuna, drained
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup zucchini
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley
salt to taste
1/4 cup Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette (or Italian dressing)

Combine wheat berries, 1/2 quart water and salt in medium saucepan and bring to boil.  Turn down heat and simmer 1 to 1.5 hours, until wheat berries are tender. Drain well and cool.

In large bowl, toss cooked wheat berries with bell pepper, celery, cranberries, tuna, feta, zucchini, parsley, salt and dressing.  Cover and chill at least at least one hour, up to 2 days.

Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
pinch dried oregano
pinch chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together lemon juice through parsley.  Add oil in a thin stream until well-blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Use immediately or refrigerate in a tightly-closed jar for up to 3 days.  Shake well before using.


Valerie Gamine said...

Love The Pirates of Penzance! This light salad (which is gorgeous, but doesn't look as though it takes itself too seriously), would fit right into any scene. :D

Jemi Fraser said...

Haven't seen Pirates in years - it's such a fun show! Haven't been to Stratford in a couple of decades - I loved it there! :)

Carol said...

Loved The Pirates of Penzance. Now I'll be humming :) The wheatberry salad looks delicious. Great combination of ingredients in there.

Bonnie said...

I think I may have said this before, but I so look forward to these posts. I have never used wheatberries, although I saved a recipe for a salad a few years ago. Thanks Beth, Bonnie

Miriam said...

I'm in love with that dressing :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely delicious! And I love the musical so mcuh :D

Choc Chip Uru

Beth said...

Thanks, Bonnie! I look forward to them too, which is why they're now a semi-regular feature on my blog!

Neesie said...

We went to see The Pirates of Penzance play in the UK a good few years ago...far too many for me to say here, but it was such an enjoyable evening.
After the show we nipped into a nearby pub before heading home, when suddenly all the cast came in and joined us. It was such a giggle and the cast signed my programme. I still have it today!
Your salad looks delicious Beth and that Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette is definitely going to be on my next salad ;D

Kathy said...

I make a wheat berry salad from The Whole Foods Cookbook and love it. However, yours sounds so delicious with the addition of tuna and feta cheese. And that lemon-herb vinaigrette sounds luscious! Can’t wait to give this one a try! Hope your having a great weekend!

Belinda said...

A pirate for every sister...hmm.....

Anonymous said...

The salad looks delicious and so summery!

Lorraine said...

This is one play I have not seen but would love to. Your salad sounds healthy and delicious, just the thing I love this time of year:)

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious. I'm a vegetarian, but this still would be yummy without the tuna.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Gilbert & Sullivan are great! Funny, inventive rhymes, and — as you said — really silly. I love them! And good job with the Wheat Berry Salad! Both the recipe — which is quite nice — and figuring out how to fit it into the theme of The Pirates of Penzance. Kind of tricky, that. ;-) Fun post - thanks.

Cathleen said...

I`ve heard good things about that musical but have never actually gone and seen it.
But this salad looks so tasty and summery. I love it!

Kittie Howard said...

I'm a big Gilbert & Sullivan fan and vicariously enjoyed your trip. Thanks for sharing. Will have to look into wheat berries as that salad looks delicious!

Kittie Howard said...

I'm a big Gilbert & Sullivan fan and vicariously enjoyed your trip. Thanks for sharing. Will have to look into wheat berries as that salad looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely making this salad. I've been in the mood for wheat berries, and I would likely have made them this weekend if I'd been able to find them. Sounds like a great road-trip with some friends. We haven't been to Stratford for a couple years, but we love to go for an overnight visit. Good to know you enjoyed this play!

Angie's Recipes said...

A must-have salad! It is fuss-free and quick to make and so delicious with a simple tangy herb dressing.

Barbara said...

Fun to have a congenial group that loves a day like that, Beth. Such fun.
When I was in boarding school, we did The Pirates of Penzance with our brother school. They had a different operetta every year, but I remember this one well.
Great salad, too!

Claudia said...

I love this as much as silly pirates and generals and giggly girls. I will be pulling out the wheat berries this week with a song in my heart.

Rita said...

Love Stratford; I went last summer for the first time; great memories. It must have been fun to go with the girls and enjoy that play.
I don't know how to follow you your blog doesn't show in my list anymore for some reason.

Joanne said...

I haven't seen Pirates in a LONG time but it really is such a fun musical! ANd this salad! Perfect summer fare!

Katerina said...

I haven't seen the play but the salad is definitely something I would long to eat Beth!

Julie said...

What a fun trip! the salad looks delicious, too!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip and that wheat berry salad looks divine! said...

What a lovely time with friends.
I'm sure that salad is nice, but it's not grabbing my attention :/

grace said...

wheat berries, yay! replace tuna with chicken and i'll gladly share my pick-a-nick basket with you. :)

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