I probably would not have made a dish with the Bluebird Grains Farro that I received in my April Foodzie box if there hadn't been an accompanying recipe card. Having never cooked with farro before, it was a bit intimidating to use. Thoughts of the grain not cooking enough and the grain being tough to chew to having a pile of mush in my bowl crossed my mind. But because the stores were inundated with delicious looking asparagus and the fact that I noticed the recipe called for some pancetta (an ingredient that I rarely turn away from) I decided to give this recipe a try.
This honestly turned out pretty good. In trying to be healthy, I'm incorporating more brown rice, whole wheat couscous and quinoa to my daily intake. Farro was such a nice change of pace and the salad in general really hit the spot. It does take some time to make (you need to cook the farro for about an hour) but I think the finished dish was worth it. It has kind of a nutty, crunchy texture, not mushy at all. It also seemed to be lighter, not as heavy as some grains can be. Made for a nice side salad with some chicken but I can see adding some cubes of cheese in the future or serve it over lettuce.
Most of this recipe is from the recipe card that came with the Foodzie box. I didn't think the instructions were clear enough so I went directly to the Bluebird Grains site and looked at some of the recipes there to get a clearer idea of how to cook the farro. I really do like the Bluebird Grains farro and will order more from them to use in this and other dishes.
SPRING FARRO SALAD
8 oz. farro
1/4 lb pancetta, diced
1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp stoneground mustard
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1.7 oz extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Place the farro, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes. Drain excess water and set farro aside.
While the farro is cooking, fry the pancetta in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until the pancetta is crispy. Drain over paper towels and set aside.
Set up an ice bath for the asparagus. Bring another saucepan of water to boil. Blanch the asparagus for 1 minute in the boiling water. Remove the asparagus from the boiling water and immediately plunge it into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and dry the asparagus.
To prepare the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, mustard, soy sauce and olive oil in a jar. Close the jar and vigorously shake until the dressing has emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a serving bowl, mix together the farro, panceta, asparagus and cilantro. Drizzle your desired amount of vinaigrette over the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
Note: I used Bluebird Grains Farro. I used dark soy sauce.
Note: The original recipe called for a 1.7 ounce bottle of Bari Olive Oil since that was one of the items included in the Foodzie box. That explains the kind of off quantity of olive oil. I did use my Bari Olive Oil in this dish and it worked great but I'm thinking any good extra virgin olive oil that you would use in a dressing would be okay.
Note: I used a whole bunch of asparagus because half a bunch just didn't seem to be enough. The original recipe said to blanche the asparagus for only 15 seconds. I ended up blanching for at least a minute as my asparagus was on the large side. I did not peel the asparagus first.
Note: The pancetta I used was very salty so I didn't add any additional salt at the end. And of course I added more pancetta than called for.
Note: I used about 3/4 of the vinaigrette in this dish and used the remainder over some leftover roast beef for a later meal.
Though this took some time to put together and cook it was a hit. We served it at room temperature the first night and even heated it up several nights later without any problems in texture. Will definitely make this again and I'm looking forward to finding more uses for farro!