Tuesday, July 22, 2008

farro salad with fresh herbs, corn and grapefruit

I love farro. It's so nutty and rustic and wholesome tasting, the time it takes to prepare is always worth it to me. And for summer, it's an ideal picnic food (big time crowd pleaser) when presented in salad form.

Sunday we went to the Feist show at the Hollywood Bowl (which was super fun! Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings opened and they are amazing too), and for non-LA residents the Hollywood Bowl is like the grande dame of picnicking spots in town. Picnic must be impossibly delicious and gourmet, must include wine and/or beer, and must also fit in a bag you can carry on the shuttle.

Perfect Picnic for the Bowl (in my opinion)

Cheese, fruit, baguette
Farro salad with fresh herbs, corn and grapefruit
Rustic cucumber and heirloom tomato salad with basil and cotija cheese
Carrot Cupcakes (for Jen and Melanie's birthdays!)

This farro salad is really QUITE delicious. It's sweet from the corn, spicy from the peppers and flavored oil, and full of herbs. All day yesterday I was fixating on coming home from work and eating the leftovers. All of them.

Farro Salad with fresh herbs, corn, and grapefruit
(this "recipe" makes a potluck picnic-sized amount)

3 cups farro

Soaked overnight. Dump farro in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand overnight. This is an essential step. I have attempted to skip the soaking process multiple times and the results are less than ideal. Just plan a teeny bit ahead. It's so worth it.

1 small-med fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shaved on a mandoline.
4 ears corn, kernels removed, blanced for a few minutes in boiling salty water
1 large bunch of cilantro, leaves removed from stems
1 bunch of mint, leaves sliced into thin strips
handful of chives, sliced into 1/2 in pieces
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 oro blanco grapefruit, fruit removed from the membranes, but save any juice released for the salad
6 shishito peppers, thinly sliced (these a japanese pepper, sort of a cross between jalapeño and bell pepper. if you don't have, maybe use minced de-seeded jalapeño? you just want it a teeny bit spicy)

olive oil (i used jalapeño-lime flavor from O, and some regular dressing-quality too)

Drain the soaked farro. Follow directions on packaging for cooking (boil, simmer, etc). Once it's perfectly tender, but still retains it's shape, drain and toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Let sit until it's cool. You don't want your cold ingredients heating up from the warm grain.

Add all ingredients together. I could go into detail, but I'm not super exact with this sort of thing and I don't think anybody really reads this part. My advice is to go by what tastes yummiest. Toss everything together and taste. Now add olive oil, salt and pepper until it is extremely delicious. You may want to add a bit more grapefruit juice or even some lime?

I was also thinking of adding some avocado, but figured it might be brown by the time we reached our picnicking destination.

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