Monday, November 4, 2013

Meatless Monday - Farro Salad with Winter Fruit, Pistachios and Ginger

It's going to be dark today at five friggin o'clock.  Yeah, I'm going on record and declaring my disdain for the whole "fall back" we do every year with our clocks.  I'm a daylight savings kind of girl.  Who cares if it's light outside at 5:00am?  If you're crazy enough to get up at FIVE AM you deserve for it to be dark.  But it should never be dark at FIVE PM.  Just saying.

 It also screws up weird people like myself that take pictures of their dinner.  If I'm making something for dinner that I want to tell y'all about, I have to feed Mr. Buker at 4:00pm.  Which, I guess, is actually about right…..he's getting to that age range of people who LIKE their dinner at 4:00pm.  So…..nevermind, I guess.

Let's talk about this salad instead.  Y'all have heard of farro, right?  It's the Italian name for the emmer wheat, which is an ancient strain of hard wheat from the Fertile Crescent in western Asia. (God that was boring!)  All that BS just to say if you have gluten issues, this is not your friend (but you could easily substitute a grain that IS your friend)!   It has a higher fiber and protein content that common wheat and is also higher in magnesium and B vitamins.  It comes whole, semi-pearled and pearled (Perlato).  I've never actually found whole farro in Birmingham and only sometimes can I find semi-pearled so I usually end up cooking pearled.  If you can find the semi-pearled, get it.  It will take a little longer to cook, but it has maintained more of the nutrients than the pearled variety.  I love it's kind of chewy texture and nuttiness.

This has soooo many good things in it.  Acidity from the citrus dressing, warmth from the ginger, sweet/sourness from the cherries (Mr. B hates raisins, so I left those out), crunchy pistachios and freshness from the cilantro and mint.  Really hits every note.  Just one word of caution.  This recipe called for salting the water in which you'll cook the faro.  Well, dimwit me salted it like pasta water, never considering the fact that, unlike pasta, farro absorbs every bit of that cooking water.  Needless to say, mine was a bit salty.  Lesson learned.  DON'T BE LIKE ME!  Well, for many reasons, but that's another conversation for another time.

Here's the recipe:

Farro Salad with Winter Fruit, Pistachios and Ginger
Food and Wine

Salt (use caution!!)
1 1/2 cups farro (I used pearled or Perlato in Italian)
3 cups water
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried sour cherries
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Bring 3 cups lightly salted water to a boil and add the farro.  Simmer over moderate heat until al dente, about 35 minutes.  Drain the faro well, shaking off the excess water.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, ginger and oil and whisk to blend.  Season with salt.

Add the warm faro to the drew wing along with the raisins and cherries and toss well.  Let stand until the farrow is almost cool.  (It will absorb the dressing.)  Just before serving, fold in the scallions, pistachios, mint and cilantro and season with salt to taste.

(The salad can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours.)

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