Friday, February 18, 2011

Farro Salad

Last summer I had lunch at Al Di La, the Venetian trattoria in my neighborhood and one of things we ate was a delicious farro salad. Farro is the Italian name for wheat berries - whole grain wheat. Al Di La served their Farro salad with cherry tomatoes, black olives, herbs (I don't remember which), lemon juice, and olive oil. Simple, healthy, delicious - I wanted to make it at home. I made several farro salads in the warm weather and found that they are as easy to make as they sound.

It's cold now, but last week I found myself craving farro. Is farro salad only for warm weather? Can I add things like roasted root vegetables to make a savory winter farro salad? Why not, who's going to stop me.

I rinsed the farro and then, following the instructions on the package (which is called Farro Intero), soaked the grains for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, some small pieces of cauliflower, parsnip, and carrot, salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil. Toss first to coat the vegetables and into the oven for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

After soaking, drain the farro and put it in a pot of boiling water, let it return to a boil, and then simmer for another 25 minutes. The farro should be soft but still offer some resistance, a little chewy. They're strangely tasty on their own, kind of nutty and satisfying. Strained and dressed with lemon or vinegar and olive oil, and whatever else you feel like throwing in - delicious.

I used about a half pound of farro, put in the roasted root vegetables, some fresh young goat cheese (maybe 2 ounces), the juice of a lemon, some olive oil, a handful of chopped parsley, and more salt and pepper. Mix well, and make sure to put in the goat cheese while the farro and root vegetables are still hot so the goat cheese melts and becomes part of the salad dressing.

Farro has a lot of protein. With the proteins in goat cheese, this dish offers a lot of protein, but also a good combination of proteins. There are root vegetables too - this is a complete meal in one bowl, it is not expensive to make, and you will have plenty of leftovers to take for lunch the next day.

But far more importantly, what to drink with this dish? I immediately wanted a Sancerre, or any Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, as the goat cheese seemed to ask for it. Having none in the house, I waffled back and forth for a while before deciding on another Loire white wine.

Yes, yes, yes, I am aware that this wine is eons away from its apex but it's the new vintage of Huet and I wanted to try a bottle. The 2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec Clos du Bourg, $33, A Rare Wine Company Selection. There is plenty of pleasure here, although the wine is a mere baby and very tightly wound, inward. Based on the warm 2009 vintage, I was expecting a great deal of concentration, but that's not so. The wine definitely has an inner core of energy and power, but the texture is very fine. Its is a detailed, and at times delicate body. The nose is a joy, with lovely orchard fruit and floral aromas, pure and fresh. There is strong acidity and very good balance, and the wine is delicious but not yet very expressive of Clos du Bourg, or of any of the three Huet vineyards, really. It talks instead of very young, expertly made Vouvray. The finish takes on a nice herbal tone on day 2, although there wasn't much movement on the palate. This wine is years away from maturity, but it seems to me as though it will be great. And I loved it over those two days, and it went very well with my savory farro salad.


45yquem said...

What a thoughtful recipe to help with the winter/sprig like weather we just had, excellent wine choice. Nice to see that the RARE WINE CO. has taken the lead with this producer to give it the representation it deserves. Regards

michelecolline said...

What did you drink with it at the restaurant, if I may ask?

Brooklynguy said...

Michelecolline- I'm pretty sure it was a Pigato, but the salad was a summer salad with tomato and olives and herbs. It was a lovely pairing, I remember. I imagine that you continue to feel frustrated by the fact that I keep drinking French wine with Italian food...

michelecolline said...

Not frustrated, just waiting to be surprised! No really, I was thinking for your preparation perhaps a Gavi. The pigato seems an excellent choice. Actually French wine was my first love and I've been on Italian so long that I'm gravitating back to France.

Fabio (Vinos Ambiz) said...

Hi, great recipe for farro - very similar to my Mum's!
PS, I think farro may be 'spelt' (another cereal, but not wheat)