Fall has officially arrived in New York. And my heart is torn. I’m happy to leave behind the fabric-stuck-to-my-back sweaty days and dive into scarves and sweaters, quite sad to say goodbye to beach days and be faced with 6pm sunsets. While the prospect of soups and braises excited my culinary mind, I’m not ready to say goodbye to the berries, peaches and tomatoes of summer.
Alas, one can’t stop the course of nature, so the city transitions. One of the most obvious places to view the transition is in my refrigerator. Last week, my CSA still got tomatoes but also an acorn squash; eggplants and many, many apples. Tastes of summer and fall in the same bag. Unsure of what to do with some of the odds and ends of my refrigerator, I decided to let the summer inspiration turn into a fall dish. We all know glorious summer salads – pasta, panzanella, potato, or completely carbohydrate free, the summer is all about heating up the kitchen as little as possible, celebrating what the summer weather brings us in vegetable form. This time around, my brain couldn’t escape the idea of using farro. Farro is my favorite whole grain. I enjoy a spelt berry, love a great quinoa salad, even the old-school classic cous cous. But Italian farro is the perfect combination of hearty, nutty flavor, a tender but chewy bite and a nice balance of fiber and protein.
Otherwise, this recipe is fall-appropriate because it embraces a blazing hot oven. For the most part, I cleaned out my vegetable drawer. You can include any and every vegetable you would like, the only thing I stress upon are the fresh dressings – parsley, green onions, and lemon zest and juice. Don’t let my list scare you, it’s only a loose guideline. [Aside: This is a fun discovery recipe – I found out that roasted radishes are completely different from raw.] So roast up what you have, cook up a new and different grain (which cooks just like pasta, so there’s no concern of water to grain ratio or any of that), and toss it all together with some fresh ingredients.
Season-Straddling Farro Salad
Served with a little brown butter tilapia, it was an impressively healthy and filling lunch.