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Warm Farro and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Fried Shallots and Balsamic Dressing

Warm Farro & Roasted Root Vegetable SaladWarm Farro and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Fried Shallots and Balsamic Dressing

Farro is one of those things I fell in love with when I lived in Italy.  It was many years before I ever found it available in the United States, which I was happy to discover, as it is a tasty and flexible grain, useful in creating all sorts of interesting dishes.  I developed this recipe using farro supplied by Tuscan Fields to have a chance to win a scholarship to this year’s Eat, Write, Retreat conference in Philadelphia in May.  Having been to the two past years’ conferences, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this creation will be good enough to land me a place at the table with my fellow food bloggers.

Farro by Tuscan Fields

Starting with Tuscan Fields Farro ai Funghi (farro with mushrooms), I mulled over what I could come up with that would showcase the beauty of this grain and highlight the flavors of the season.  At the moment, we’re at that awkward in-between stage in the markets.  All of us are craving green things: peas, asparagus, ramps.  We’re also anticipating the start of strawberry-picking season and the arrival of new vegetables – all the things that signal that springtime is here and that summer will soon be on its way.

Farro ai funghi (farro with mushrooms)

In the farmers market last week, however, I still found lots of root vegetables and not much else.  I decide to roast the vegetables as a time-saver to make this an easy, weeknight supper, and also as I think it brings out so much depth and intensity of flavor, especially with these being end-of-season produce.  The herbs and the vinaigrette perk up the dish with their brightness and acidity.  Fried shallots are one of those quick garnishes that adds a delightful crunch to any plate.  This dish would be a great vegetarian or vegan meal but could also be served alongside some roasted chicken or grilled lamb.  I hope that you enjoy this recipe, and that it helps me to go to Eat, Write, Retreat this year.

Recipe ingredients

Warm Farro and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Fried Shallots and Balsamic Dressing

Prep time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Serving size: 6 portions as a side dish; 4 portions as a main course

Ingredients:

6 large Radishes, cut into cubes

2-3 small Turnips, cut into cubes

3 new Carrots, cut into chunks

2 Parsnips, cut into chunks

2 cloves Garlic, skin left on

2-3 sprigs Thyme

1 tsp. Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground

One package Tuscan Fields Farro ai Funghi

3 Shallots, cut into rounds

1 tsp. Canola oil

1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground

1 tsp. fresh Thyme, chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh Parsley, chopped

Assembly:

Vegetables ready to roast

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a baking pan, place the chopped vegetables, garlic cloves, and thyme.  Toss together with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place in the oven to roast for about 25 minutes.

Adding farro to the pan

Place a saucepan on the stovetop to boil water and cook the entire package of farro according to the instructions listed on the back.  It should take about twenty minutes to cook the farro to a nicely chewy but still toothsome texture.

Frying shallots

While the farro is cooking and the vegetables are roasting, fry the shallots and prepare the vinaigrette.  Place a sauté pan on the stove and add the canola oil.  Add the sliced shallots and let them cook until golden brown, stirring them to keep them from burning.  Remove from the heat, drain, and place on paper towels until ready to serve.

Reducing balsamic vinegar

To prepare the vinaigrette, pour the balsamic vinegar in a shallow pan or saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the vinegar is reduced by about 1/3 to 1/2.  Place the vinegar in a bowl along with the chopped thyme, salt, and pepper.  Whisk in enough extra virgin olive oil until it is a thick sauce-like consistency, about 2-3 times the amount of vinegar.

Roasted root vegetables

Check the vegetables to see if they have finished cooking by inserting a paring knife into the largest ones to see that they have been cooked through.  Remove the thyme sprigs and pour the vegetables into a bowl along with any olive oil that might still be in the pan. Set aside the garlic cloves.

Cooked farro

Taste the farro.  It should be cooked through with very little resistance.  Add it to the bowl with the root vegetables.

Roasted root vegetables with farro and parsley

Take the skins off of the garlic cloves and put them through a press or smoosh them into a sieve until they are very fine.  Toss farro, garlic, and vegetables together with the chopped parsley.

Warm Farro and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Fried Shallots and Balsamic Dressing

Put a mound of the vegetable mixture in the center of a plate.  Top with the fried shallots and drizzle some of the vinaigrette on the plate.  Eat while still warm.

Buon appetito!

Kitchen Witch Tip:

Seasonings and herbs should be added to a vinaigrette with the vinegar to get the most out of their flavor.  Then, add the olive oil.