Weekly Winner:  Addicted to Amazing Asparagus … and apparently farro too

The asparagus this season has been amazing. I find I simply can’t not buy it.  I’m grilling it, roasting it, sautéing it and adding it to anything I can think of.  Also, if you peruse past entries, it appears I have quite the culinary crush on farro.  I find it so much more interesting than rice, quinoa or barley. So, when a hearty salad combines those two things and adds nuts and cheese (which is always a bonus in my book) I knew I’d love it. And I did. This is one of those salads I could easily and happily eat once a week.

The only problem is that I’m at a loss as to where I found this winner of a recipe. Various internet searches have come up empty.  All I know is that it was a magazine.  The good news is I cut it out so I have it forever and am sharing it with you so we can all make it whenever we want —  even if I can’t give appropriate credit.  

Toasted Farro & Asparagus Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 lb thin asparagus

6 Tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed

1-1/2 cups pearled farro

Kosher salt

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

Grated zest of 1 lemon

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped

3 oz feta, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon

Procedure:

  1. Snap off the tough bottom of each asparagus spear and discard.  Gather the spears into a bundle, cut off the tips, and cut the spears into 1/4-inch coins.
  2. In a wide saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the farro and stir to coat the grains evenly.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and enough water to cover the farro by at least 2 inches.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the farro is al dente, about 25 minutes.  Drain.
  3. While the farro is cooking, in a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, the butter, and the red pepper flakes over medium-high heat, stirring a few times so the pepper flakes evenly toast, just a couple of minutes.  Working in batches in needed, add the asparagus tips and sauté for about a minute, then add the asparagus coins and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the tips and coins are bright green and crisp-tender, a minute or two more.
  4. Add the drained farro to the asparagus. Add the lemon zest and juice and 2 tbsp of the olive oil, tossing well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add up to another Tbsp of olive oil if you’d like. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then add the pistachios, feta and tarragon and toss again.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
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