Monday, September 17, 2012

Farro Salad with Canned Wild Alaskan Salmon, Tomatoes, Basil, and Spinach

If you haven't made a farro salad, now's your time.   Push back rice and set aside pasta; cook a bit of farro (FAHR-roe)--a luscious European-Near East whole grain-- today.  A chewy (if not over-cooked) grain something a bit like a cross between barley and wheat berries, it is often described as somewhat nutty in flavor.   Despite all indications, you needn't soak farro overnight like dried beans.  Bring it to a boil, using l cup of dried farro for 2 1/2 cups of water and, lowering the heat (and covering) a la rice, cook away 25-30 minutes until this hearty, wholesome grain is al dente.  (I like to include a bit of salt, pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper to the water.)  If, when the farro is done, there's still water left, drain it like pasta.

I really don't know (for sure) what everyone else does with farro, but I had a notion to tart it up with a lot of lemon juice, fresh herbs, a bit of onion, fresh tomatoes, and a full (nearly) 15 ounce portion of canned salmon. Mostly because that's what was around the house.

$2.99, yes $2.99 at Whole Foods--Does this say bargain?  (Yes.)
 Well, I didn't know what I was doing either, but I turned the stove on, stuck my head in the frig, whistled around the counter top, and came up with a lovely lunch.  Try this:

farro salad with canned alaskan wild salmon, tomatoes, and spinach     

                               3-4 servings (you'll eat 2 and save some for the next day)

  • Cook one cup of farro  in 2.5 cups water with a 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper (covered a la rice) until the farro is almost tender--about 25-30 minutes. 
  • When farro is al dente, drain (if needed), pour farro out into a large mixing bowl, and add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil . Stir. 
  • Chop 2T each red onion and celery and stir into farro.
  • Add 1 minced garlic clove.
  • Dice 1/3 cup diced sharp cheddar cheese (or Gouda) and stir into salad.
  • Drain a 14-15 oz can of wild Alaskan salmon, remove large bones, skin, and spine, and break apart with a fork.  Add to salad.
  • Slice in half 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes and gently add to salad. 
  • Add 1/2 cup julienned baby carrots.
  • Chop one medium yellow squash (summer squash) and add to salad.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and parsley.
  • Drizzle onto the salad the juice of one lemon and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
  • Optional:  1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard added with the olive oil.
  • Sprinkle salad with 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Stir well.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Serve on a bed of fresh spinach seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper
  • Before serving, give the entire salad just a quick splash ( approximately 1 teaspoon or to taste) red wine vinegar.
  • Garnish with some small basil leaves.
Cook's Note:  You can sub with other vegetables you have on the counter.  For instance, use chopped yellow bell pepper or zucchini in place of yellow squash.  Add cucumber or fennel in the place of celery.  Arugula could replace spinach.  And so on...
These were on my counter.   They're still coming out in the yard.   Aren't they pretty?

And here was our lunch.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

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