Monday, September 24, 2012

farro, roasted pepper, and tomato salad.

I got it into my head this weekend that I needed to cook with farro, which means the boy and I went on a supermarket adventure looking for this grain, which we eventually found in the organic section of Shop Rite next to the rice.  I felt victorious for having located it and promptly brought it home.  (It should be noted that I am a girl who lacks patience, which means when I have an idea/thought/craving I can’t think of anything else.  I am like a dog with a cone on its head.)  The reason for my sudden infatuation with farro stemmed from this recipe that I saw in Plenty (my latest cookbook obsession).  Something about the simplicity of the dish spoke to me but I also felt that I could add some end of season produce into the dish to make it a little substantial ( because I look for every opportunity to add in more farmers market produce).  The farro gives a lovely nutty taste to the salad and it also provides some much needed crunchy texture to the red peppers and tomatoes.  The dressing is perfection – sweet and tangy with the perfect amount of spice.  I foresee farro salads becoming my lunch of choice. 

Farro, Roasted Pepper, and Tomato Salad
Recipe adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Farro is the better cooler sister to quinoa (or that's at least how I feel).  The texture is amazing and it tastes more substantial which I love. I planned on making this for lunch which means I wanted to bulk the dish up with some extra vegetables.  Cherry tomatoes and spinach were my extra vegetable add-ins but I imagine cucumbers or corn would also be lovely.   I also plan on making a more fall version with butternut squash which I will report back on! 

For the Dressing

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey (Mike’s Hot Honey is wonderful here)
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for garnish
½ garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper

For the Farro Salad

1 cup farro
2 cups packed baby spinach
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 roasted red peppers (homemade is best but jarred works as well), diced
10 black olives, pitted and quartered
1 tablepsoon fresh thyme
3 ounces goat cheese

For the dressing: Whisk together all of the ingredients and set aside. 

For the farro salad: Bring 2 ½ cups of water to boil over high heat.  Add the farro, reduce heat to a simmer and cover, cook according to directions on the package, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.  When done, drain in a colander or sieve, rinse under cold water and the return the farro to the pot.  Add the spinach and cover for 5 minutes so the heat of the farro just barely wilts the spinach. 

Remove the lid from the pot and add the tomatoes, roasted red pepper, olives, thyme, goat cheese, and dressing. Toss gently and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve with a sprinkle of paprika.

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