There’s nothing like a good cut, whether for clothes, hair (especially hair!) and food. Case in point: this farro salad. The first time I made it, I had in mind my usual version of Greek salad with the grain added in for extra body and nutrients, so I chopped the vegetables into the typical big chunks. It tasted great, but presentation-wise it was lacking that ooh-la-la factor.
Solution? When I made it again this weekend, I took a little more time to finely dice the vegetables so they were more or less the same size as the cooked grains. The result was a salad that looked far more appealing, as the photo below shows.
Tip: How you cut ingredients like vegetables can make all the difference in presentation and even cooking. Know your chopping, dicing, and mincing!
This is a trick that I use quite often. Simply cutting the vegetables to a different size can add a whole different level of visual appeal and even sophistication to a dish. Chic, n’est-ce pas?
Lately I’ve gotten into the habit of cooking grains ahead and freezing them for future use. I’m expanding my whole grain repertoire, so my meals are based on more than lentils, rice and quinoa. I’ve had farro in my cupboard for ages, but hadn’t cooked it until now. I’m loving its chewy texture, football-esque shape (that’s an American football, for my non-North American readers) and pleasant flavour. Plus it delivers in the fibre and protein departments.
Variety, as they say …
Farro Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
© Marlene Cornelis, Urban Cottage Life 2016
What follows is more of a suggestion than an actual recipe. Start by cooking the farro (or, if you cooked it ahead like I did, you can take two cups’ worth out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge, breaking it up into individual grains). Add 1 cup farro to three cups water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Note, this will yield about 3 cups of cooked grain, so freeze what you don’t need, following the instructions here.
Now it’s time to get chopping. I used about 1 quarter large red pepper, 3 thin slices red onion, about 3 inches English cucumber and most of 1 carrot, and chopped them into a fine dice. Note that I removed the cucumber seeds.
Mix the diced vegetables and two cups of cooked farro in a bowl big enough to stir it all together.
For the lemon vinaigrette, I used a ratio of one part freshly squeezed lemon juice to 2 parts extra virgin olive oil, adding a good grinding of black pepper, a couple pinches of salt and about a teaspoon of dried oregano. I simply whisked it with a fork until creamily incorporated and then poured and stirred it into the salad in stages until it was dressed to my liking. For this size of salad I think about 1/3 cup of dressing would be adequate, but I like my salads lightly dressed. If you like more, go for it!
Once the salad is dressed, taste it and adjust the salt and pepper to suit your taste.