Will Farro

We're bearing up under the nastiest transition to spring in recent memory. April 17 and there are several inches of snow on the ground with temperatures that keep me in my puffy coat. I'm ready to pitch the grubby winter clothes and start replenishing my vitamin D. But it's not to be. The only bright side is that the kitchen retains its allure and offers a warm and dry place to cook and listen to podcasts all afternoon while I wait to be tempted outside.

Today I made these farro salads. First time I've tried this grain and I am impressed. Nutty, chewy with a firm almost pasta-like feel. Tastes great and is nutritious - a good source of fiber (3+ grams) and almost as much protein as an egg. Really makes a salad feel substantial.

I'm trying to eat more raw (rawer?) so I'm combining it with thin-as-I-can-slice-it-without-shearing-off-skin cauliflower, red cabbage and avocado cubes but I also made it with roasted cauliflower for my family. Both have a fresh parsley vinaigrette and are best served a little warm (at least under our current meteorological conditions).


Serves 4 (makes 3 cups)

1 cup pearled* farro
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

1. Roll farro on a clean damp towel to remove any dust.

2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add farro. Toast, shaking periodically, until fragrant and somewhat darkened (5 minutes).

3. Heat water and salt until boiling in saucepan. Add toasted farro, stir and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for approximately 25 minutes or until al dente (don't overcook - gets mushy). Drain.

*Farro is available in pearled, semi-pearled and unpearled varieties which refer to how much, if any, of the hull is left on. Pearled cooks the quickest.

Parsley Vinaigrette

1/2 cup parsley, loosely packed
1/4 cup plus olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Put parsley (leaves and top-most stems), olive oil, salt and lemon juice or vinegar in a food processor. Process until smooth-ish.

Roasted Cauliflower

1. Preheat oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. Slice about half a cauliflower thinly (it will break into tiny pieces). Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt then spread out on sheet pan.

3. Roast until brown around the edges (10 minutes).

Assemble: Put farrow and vegetable(s) in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle avocado cubes over the top, if using, so it doesn't get squashed. Add more vinaigrette to taste.


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