I’ve played around with farro before – throwing it into a root vegetable soup and a couple salads, but because my everyday market didn’t carry it, I only used it occasionally But last year I moved out of Chinatown where farro was hard to come by and moved into an Italian neighbourhood where it’s always stocked at the small Italian grocery down the street. Having farro so close by makes it much, much easier to cook with and so I’ve been using it often. This salad, which I found from Molly at Orangette is the farro salad I make the most often.
I love it because it’s a bit unusual. Of course, it’s got a distinct bite and chew from the hearty grain, but instead of an Italian style vinaigrette this version goes asian. I’ve used a mix of soy sauce and fish sauce and just used soy sauce and both ways are delicious. The dressing is a delicate balance between sweet and tart and spicy and it doesn’t contain any oil to weigh it down. The orignal recipe added in escarole and radicchio, but since I didn’t have either, I just went with paper-thin vegetables. Nothing fancy, just red peppers, carrots, cucumbers and green onions. The whole thing gets a sprinkling of feta (if you’re me) or you can skip it if you’re my husband or vegan. The feta was something I was a bit wary about since I didn’t think it would go with the fish sauce / soy sauce dressing, but it works, people, it works very well!
If you’re having a hard time finding farro, check out heath food markets along with Italian grocers. I get mine at Bosa Foods in Vancouver, but I’ve also seen it at Whole Foods and the Gourmet Warehouse.
And for a little bit of housekeeping news, I’m sure you’re aware that the beloved Google Reader is shutting down July 1st. I know that many of you subscribe through Google Reader to read this blog and I’d love it if you would continue to keep on reading! I was hoping that there would be a few more options by now (apparently Digg is working on a new reader – UPDATE: Digg Reader is now live & is awesome – I highly recommend it!!), but so far, I can recommend The Old Reader, Bloglovin’ and Feedly. The Old Reader is the most similar to Google Reader, while Bloglovin’ sure is pretty, but you have click through to read each post which may discourage some. So far my vote goes to Feedly which is pretty and pretty user friendly (though I do miss using the arrow keys to open new posts & it has too many features I don’t need). If you’re not sure what to do, make sure to export your feeds via Google Takeout so you have your feed data ready for when the feed of your dreams decides to show up. So you last Google Reader stragglers, sign up to a service before June 30 to make sure you don’t lose your feeds!
And in other new news, I’ve added a “Pin It” button to every post so now you can pin away on Pinterest and share my recipes!
warm or cold farro salad with asian vinaigrette
(adapted from Orangette)
Farro takes a while to cook, so instead of just cooking one cup like the recipe suggests, double it (or triple it if you’re got a large family). I like to have farro on hand, ready to go, in the fridge. It adds bulk to other salads or soup, but because the vinaigrette makes enough for an entire second salad, it’s good to have leftover farro on hand because you will make this salad again. And seeing how it’s picnic and barbecue season, this is an ideal salad to take away somewhere and share with friends.
1 c farro
For the dressing:
3 T soy sauce or fish sauce or a combination of them both
3 T lime juice
2 to 3 T honey or brown sugar
6 to 8 T water, to taste
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 Thai chile, very thinly sliced
For the salad:
red peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced into coins
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
feta, crumbled, optional
Cook the farro in a medium sized pot of water, bring to the boil and then simmer for 35-45 minutes. The farro should have some chew, but it’s up to you how much chew you like. Taste and then drain when you feel the bite is right.
Combine the dressing ingredients into a small lidded jar and shake, adjusting the flavours – more sweet or more tart or more spice, depending on your tastebuds. You’ll only use about 1/2 of the dressing for this recipe, so put the remaining vinaigrette into the fridge for up to 3 days.
I use a mandoline to slice the vegetables finely, but a good knife should get you close. Toss vegetables and chickpeas, if using, into the farro and then pour about 1/2 the dressing over top. Toss again. Serve, sprinkling a generous amount of crumbled feta over top.