The vibrancy of a Christmas tree inspired this festive farro salad. Farro – we love you, but you’re not exactly dazzling – and kale, a deliciously textured grain and a winter green, each a vehicle for almost anything, in this case dried fruit and a citrus dressing. With dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, candied hazelnuts, a dressing made with the juice of Clementines, pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top, farro (or faro) is getting its groove on. Kale underneath, shredded and lightly dressed. Think of a subdued Christmas tree, the colors neutralized, but the flavor rich and feast-worthy.
** Speaking of farro, with roots in Italian cuisine, another ‘original’ Italian will be in town next week, Top Chef “Fan Favorite”, Fabio Vivani. He’ll talk about his own cooking, his recipes and his new cookbook, FABIO’S AMERICAN HOME KITCHEN: More Than 124 Recipes With an Italian Accent, Monday the 8th, 2:00 p.m. at the University Book Store. I saw Fabio cook – and perform – on top chef a time or two. Talk about vibrant, and he can cook! I browsed through the cookbook today and what sets it apart, in a good way, is that it’s full of classics like buttermilk fried chicken, shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and plenty of pasta, all with an Italian twist. I’ll post a favorite or two before too long.
Farro Salad with Citrus & Dried Fruit Recipe
Emmer Farro is an ancient grain, originally grown and used abundantly in Italy. Still is for that matter.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 C farro/ 7 C water or broth/1 t salt/ 1/4 C each dried cranberries or cherries, apricots, currants, chopped figs – any combination or all or some of these/1/2 C coarsely chopped plain or candied hazelnuts/ For the dressing: the juice of 2 Clementines (about 4 T), 2 T finely chopped shallot, 2 T red wine vinegar, 3 T olive or Hazelnut oil, 1 t honey. This dressing will not fully emulsify.
Directions: While Emmer Farro is cooking combine and mix ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl/ Cook farro in 7 C of water or broth: bring to boil, salt, turn to simmer and cover/ Cook 50 – 60 minutes or until farro is tender, but with a little bite/ Drain thoroughly and pour immediately into bowl with citrus dressing/ Mix and let cool a bit/ /Stir in dried fruit, larger pieces chopped coarsely/ Refrigerate/ Before serving, sprinkle toasted or candied hazelnuts on top along with a few extra cranberries or cherries/ Can be served at room temperature on a bed of coarsely chopped kale that has been lightly dressed in a little more of the citrus dressing. If you have a Pomegranate cut it open and sprinkle a handful of seeds over the top. Zing.
More than just a pretty face, it has depth and breadth of character, it tastes really good, and it’s not a cookie.
It’s also good local food, the farro, the hazelnuts and dried fruits. Forgive the Clementine for its non-local intrusion, but California citrus isn’t so bad. This salad will safely sit at room temperature for hours.
Bluebird Grains Farm is our local producer of farro and its related products. Check out their site for more information about the ancient grain and more recipes. Many grocery stores in the Pacific Northwest carry Bluebird Farms farro.