FARRO: GOOD FOR YOU AND TASTES GREAT TOO

Farro:  a fun word for a mysterious grain, about which a lot of controversy exists as to its origin.  Some say it’s a type of wheat, but that’s not the case,  farro is a grain from a related, but different plant.  It was a staple at the height of the Roman Empire,  and persevered since those days until now in central parts of Italy, where it’s still grown,  consumed and exported.   Farro is loaded with vitamins and low in gluten, so even people with gluten allergies may enjoy it. Plus, it performs well in  many kinds of recipes, from risottos to breads, from stews to salads.  What an amazing little grain, that’s perfect as the focus of my 200th post!   ;-)

BEWITCHING FARRO SALAD
(from my kitchen)

to cook the grain:
1 cup farro  (not the pearled variety)
2.5 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

for the dressing (it will make more than you need):
1/2 cup olive oil
juice and zest of 1 lemon (or other citric fruits, alone or in combination)
pinch of salt
ground black pepper

for the salad:
asparagus, finely sliced in tiny “coins”
radishes, cut in match sticks
diced tomatoes
diced cucumbers
minced cilantro (optional)

Cook the farro by mixing it with water and salt in a saucepan, bringing it to a boil and gently simmering it for 45 minutes (or a little longer, taste to decide when it’s fully cooked, but don’t let it get mushy).  If the grain cooks but there’s some water left, drain it. Otherwise just fluff it with a fork and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Make the salad dressing by mixing the olive oil with lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper.  Reserve.  Add the asparagus and radishes to a small bowl and sprinkle with some of the salad dressing, mixing to lightly coat them.

At serving time, mix the cooked farro with the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro (if using), asparagus and radishes, add more dressing to taste, adjust the seasoning.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: A couple of years ago I watched Anne Burrell  use raw asparagus as the main ingredient in an unusual salad.  She inspired me in this farro recipe.   Since the asparagus spears are raw,  thinly slice both them and the radishes.   If you add some dressing to these two ingredients and allow them to rest while you prepare the remainder of the salad, it will mellow their sharpness.

I haven’t given any exact amounts for the ingredients so that you can play with them, using more or less, depending on your own taste.  Skip some, add something else (onions, diced olives, capers, mint leaves), and adapt the dressing too: orange juice complements asparagus and farro quite nicely!

The grain doesn’t go mushy in the fridge overnight, and in fact the salad was still outstanding next day. I can see raw asparagus in our future quite often: couscous, orzo, and cracked wheat salads will never be the same…

My husband, after polishing off leftovers, said: “You are making this again, right”? – I guess food bloggers’ partners live in fear of never tasting the same dish twice… ;-)

ONE YEAR AGO: From Sea to Table:  SUSHI

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20 thoughts on “FARRO: GOOD FOR YOU AND TASTES GREAT TOO

  1. Always interesting to discover a new grain. I hadn’t heard of this and thought at first it might be Kamut but a spot of googling shows this is not the case. In English, according to Wikipedia, it seems to be called emmer wheat, and in French amidonnier. Anyway, I shall be keeping an eye out for it. Thanks, Sally!

  2. Hi, Pauline
    I am curious to find out if farro is available in Brazil, maybe one of my friends will let me know.

    I am also very interested in adding different grains to our meals – I’ve got a bag of red quinoa staring at me from the pantry, need to invite it to play soon!

    Thanks for stopping by…

    • NOt easy to find here either, I got is as a special gift from a dear friend, she bulked ordered through the net. but it’s worth searching for it, as you know… ;-)

  3. I’ve baked with emmer flour, which I think is what is called farro where you are, triticum dicoccum?, is that the one you’ve made that delectable salad from? I’ve never seen the grain for sale here yet. I remember reading about the confusion in terms, some people want to call spelt, farro. Wheat genetics is mostly over my head, I just know it is very complicated! The emmer flour I used was a very soft flour as you might expect, with a wonderful rich colour and gave a sweet and mild taste to the bread I used it in. Hope your husband gets his wish, that looks delicious! I’ve never tried raw asparagus in a salad, that sounds soo good Sally!

    • Yes, it it Triticum diccoccum indeed, from what I read. You are right, the genetics of wheat is extremely complex… I rather stay with bacterial genetics, extremely easy by comparison! :-)

    • I’ve baked with emmer flour, which I think is what is called farro where you are, truiictm dicoccum?, is that the one you’ve made that delectable salad from? I’ve never seen the grain for sale here yet. I remember reading about the confusion in terms, some people want to call spelt, farro. Wheat genetics is mostly over my head, I just know it is very complicated! The emmer flour I used was a very soft flour as you might expect, with a wonderful rich colour and gave a sweet and mild taste to the bread I used it in. Hope your husband gets his wish, that looks delicious! I’ve never tried raw asparagus in a salad, that sounds soo good Sally!

      • I must say that even though I am a sort of geneticist (my field is bacterial genetics), wheat genetics leaves me cold… I don’t have enough knowledge to say much apart from what I get from Wikipedia and related info :-)
        I made another salad very similar recently, using “kamut” – now THAT is even more obscure than farro, I suppose – turned out delicious, I should be blogging on it in the next 3 weeks.

  4. I love farro and should use it more often, like in this salad! Sounds fresh and delicious. That’s so true about never making the same thing twice. It’s telling when we do make a particular dish repeatedly!

  5. Lovely lovely salad. It looks so wholesome and refreshing… I live in the Northeast of the US where spelt is easy to find but farro isn’t. I don’t know why. In France it is sold in the natural food stores under the name “petit épeautre” (as opposed to spelt which is simply “épeautre”). I have half-a-pound left from a (very expensive) little bag I got from a great Italian grocery at Chelsea Market in NYC. I made farrotto with the first half. I’ll make this salad with the rest. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hi, Megan… indeed, but there are no Trader Joe’s where I live, actually we have two in Kansas City now, but it’s 2 hours from where we live. However, since I wrote this post we moved to Kansas, and our grocery store carries farro almost year around now.

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