Saturday, September 26, 2015

Farro Salad with Basil, Olives, and Marcona Almonds

We here at lovesmiths have a bit of a thing for Frank Orrall at the moment. Maybe it's the way Poi Dog Pondering turned all frowns upside down at their concert/dance party in Chicago's Millennium Park this past summer. Maybe it's his thoughtful and charming answers to our recent interview for Paste Food.

Or maybe it's all about the farro.

In our interview, the Poi Dog frontman, Thievery Corporation singer/percussionist, and chef-for-hire mentioned his affinity for farro, an Italian whole grain. He rattled off a few possible ingredients for a farro salad and the recipe below, (which celebrates the fact that we can still get fresh basil at the market), was the insanely delicious result. Try it (maybe while listening to the beautiful new Poi Dog release, Everybody's Got a Star), and you're bound to fully understand this thing.

Farro Salad with Basil, Olives, and Marcona Almonds
serves 4

1 cup farro, rinsed and drained
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus a little extra for drizzling on top)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup green olives (I used herb-marinated olives, but any will work here)
1/2 cup Marcona almonds, chopped
4-5 ounces Manchego cheese, grated (or make this salad vegan--eliminate cheese and add more almonds)
2-3 cups baby arugula

In a medium pot, bring three cups of water to a boil. Add farro and a small pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, or until farro is mostly tender but still has a little bite and chewiness to it. Drain well and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine farro, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, and toss well to coat. Add basil, olives, almonds, and cheese and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Distribute arugula evenly between plates and top with farro mixture. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.