Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables
|Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables|
I previously posted a terrific salad featuring farro and promised to follow with more recipes featuring this amazing grain (see link below). Farro is literally the first grain – the grain from which all grains descended. It is not a wheat, but a grain with low gluten content. Farro is sold whole, semi-pearled or pearled, all of which can be used interchangeably. Pearling removes the inedible hull that surrounds the grain but the process also removes the nutritious germ and bran. It is difficult to find whole farro. While the pearled is easier and quicker to cook, the nutrients vanish with the husk along with a good bit of the flavor. Hence, I prefer the compromising semi-pearled farro. It has a complex, nutty taste with undertones of oats and barley. Please see previous post “Farro with Roasted Squash, Hazelnuts, Watercress and Goat Cheese” posted March 25, 2013. http://cookingwithlarue.blogspot.com/2013/03/passover-special-pharaoh-farro-with.html
- 2 C farro, rinsed – semi-pearled recommended
- 3 yellow zucchini, halved lengthwise & deseeded
- 2 green zucchini – halved lengthwise & deseeded
- 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and thickly sliced, herby tops reserved for garnish
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
- 2 red bell peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 2 eggplants cut into chunks
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ C + 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tb white wine vinegar, or more to taste
- Lemon juice from 1 lemon
- Mix of fresh herbs chopped: parsley, mint, basil, and oregano
- 4 C chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 C water
Soak the semi-pearled farro 20-30 minutes covered amply with cold water. If using whole farro, soak overnight. Pearled farro requires no soaking.
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Slice zucchini across into chunky half-moons and put them into a large roasting tray. Add the remaining vegetables, including fennel, red onion, red peppers, eggplant and garlic, and toss together with 2 Tb olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.
|Veggies before cooking|
Spread the vegetables out in one layer, using two trays if necessary. Roast in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, removing trays and carefully shaking them occasionally, until vegetables are cooked through and crisp around the edges. Sprinkle all vegetables with 2 Tb white wine vinegar as soon as they come out of the oven and then set aside to cool. When cool, add fresh herbs and chop all.
To cook farro: Start with 4 C of vegetable or chicken stock and 4 C water. Add pre-soaked drained farro and season the liquid liberally with salt. Bring farro to a boil from cold and cook at a steady simmer for 30-40 minutes until it is slightly al dente. Cooking times will vary depending on the age of the semi-pearled farro. If using pearled farro, you can expect to cook in half the time. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Drain and add to a large bowl. Meanwhile, make vinaigrette by mixing ¼ C olive oil with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to the warm cooked farro and mix thoroughly.
Add roasted chopped vegetables and herbs to warm cooked farro – toss carefully and mix thoroughly. Scatter reserved fennel fronds over the top and serve warm or at room temperature.
This healthy tasty salad is a wonderful side dish or entrée sure to please you and your family. Other garnishes could include a sprinkling of goat or feta cheese. Give it a go!