Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Farro Salad

There was still mint to be used up (big surprise),
so the recipe I came across for a Farro Salad
at Caputo's (our local Italian grocer) was perfect!

Farro is a Sardinian staple.  Sardinia, Italy was a honeymoon stop for us, so I've been dying to try a farro recipe.  Plus it's fun to say it in a thick Italian accent - Farrrrro.  Farro is a dry, whole wheat grain...somewhat similar in consistency to barley, spelt, or wheatberries.

My adapted recipe for the salad is as follows:
  • Farro, 1 cup (barley, or even brown rice, could be substituted)
  • Grape tomatoes, 1 cup
  • Artichokes, 1 can (in water or marinated)
  • Scallions, 3-5 (depending on size)
  • Arugula or spinach, torn, ~ 2 cups
  • Mint, chopped, ~ 2 Tbsp to 1/4 c (fresh basil would also be delicious)
  • Lemon, juice and zest
  • Olive oil, 1/2 c (use good quality, as this is the dressing, a.k.a you're not cooking it)
  • Salt (again, use good quality - I used Fleur de Sel)
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, ~1/2 c
Toast the farro in a dollop of olive oil over medium-low heat until it smells nutty, being careful not to burn.  Think pilaf, people. 
Once toasted, spread farro onto a paper towel to absorb extra oil and cool.  In same pot you used to toast the farro, bring water to a boil.  Make sure you salt this water liberally, as this will be the only other flavoring opportunity for the farro itself.  Once the water is boiling, add the farro back to pot and cook for 20-25 minutes.  (You want the farro to taste a little chewy and not mushy!)

Meanwhile, halve the grape tomatoes and chop the artichokes and scallions.  Place the veggies in a large salad bowl.  Mince the mint and zest the lemon and add these to the mix. 

Measure the olive oil in a measuring cup; add the lemon juice to it, along with salt and pepper to taste, and whisk until emulsified. 

Once, the farro is cooked, drain REALLY well.  (You don't want a wet salad.)  Add to the bowl once dry.

Pour dressing over the salad.
Tear baby spinach or arugula and add to salad. 
Grate the Parmesan cheese over the top.  Mix well and taste for seasoning.

I served this with baked garlic mahi mahi and roasted lemon asparagus.
Yum-o with white wine.  A nice light meal!
(Not to mention you'll be brown baggin' it gourmet-style this week at work!)

I also think it'd be an ideal summer salad, as it contains no mayonnaise.
And we all know that no mayo = no food poisoning for your picnic comrades.

Dessert is simple and easy.
Strawberries + Dark chocolate.  That's healthy, right??

Mangia mangia!

~photos by b~

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