Caprese Farro Salad

Caprese Farro Salad

Babies! Vegetable babies, that is. Oh, I have human babies on my mind, too, that’s for sure. It’s the Year Of The Coronavirus (or the first year of it, anyway), and I miss my grandbabies! I want to hold them and hug them and play with them, and…but I digress. Today I’m looking at babies in the garden. Late June is so full of promise!

baby grape tomatoes

These little babies will soon grow up into adult grape tomatoes. Can you see them there, tucked in below the blossoms? I’m trying a new variety this year, called Celano. I’m hoping it will be more blight-resistant than the last ones I grew. As soon as I saw these little treasures, I started thinking about all the ways I want to eat them. My mouth is watering already, and they’re still weeks from harvest. To be frank, I usually neglect to tell anyone when the first ones finally ripen. That’s so I can pop them in my mouth, right there in the garden. Call me selfish if you must, but I am the one doing all the gardening, so I feel entitled. But grape and cherry tomato plants tend to be hugely prolific, so it’s not long before I’m bringing scads of them inside to share. 

I’ve been trying for years to work more whole grains into my diet. A woman cannot live on sourdough and butter alone, much as she might be tempted. Whole grains are so delicious and so good for you, I still don’t understand how weeks can go by before I remember to cook some. I love them, I just…forget. 

When it comes to farro, there are a few different kinds. Don’t bother with pearled farro — it has too much of the bran removed to really be considered a whole grain. Whole farro is delicious, but the grains need to be soaked overnight or cooked for an extended time. Semi-pearled is a lovely compromise. It still has enough bran to be whole, but only needs 30 minutes to cook. Packages don’t always tell you how the grain has been processed, but you can tell by looking at the cooking time. If it’s less than a half-hour, it’s probably fully pearled. Do feel free to substitute whole farro here (or anywhere) if you’re more patient than I.

I’ve calculated the nutrition using 8 servings of about ¾ cup (160 ml), but I also love a bigger serving as a Meatless Monday meal.

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Ingredients:

1 small red onion

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 small bunch fresh basil

a few leaves of fresh rosemary (optional)

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns (optional)

1 cup (180 g) dry semi-pearled farro, rinsed

2 cups (480 ml) of water

12 oz (340 g) cherry or grape tomatoes

4 ounces (115 g) fresh mozzarella

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

1.) This step is optional but does add depth of flavor to the farro. Make a sachet: Cut a square of cheesecloth about 9 inches square, and a piece of butchers’ twine about 3” in length. Slice a chunk of the onion and place it in the center of the cheesecloth. Pile on the garlic clove, a few leaves of the basil (reserving the rest), the rosemary, and the peppercorns. Gather up the edges, tie securely with twine, and trim any excess.

2.) Place the sachet, farro, and water in a medium saucepan, uncovered, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for 30 minutes. 

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3.) While the farro cooks, halve the cherry tomatoes and finely dice the onion for about 4 tablespoons (¼ cup). Cut up the mozzarella into half-inch (1 cm) cubes. Set aside.

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4.) To make the dressing, combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and ground pepper. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Adjust seasoning to taste; set aside.

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5.) When the farro is done cooking, remove the sachet with tongs or a fork. Drain the farro with a fine-mesh sieve and transfer to a bowl. Pour in the dressing and mix well. Gently stir in the tomatoes and onions.

6.) Just before serving, slice some basil. The easiest way to do this is to stack about 8 to 10 leaves, roll tightly lengthwise, then slice the bundle crosswise. Gently stir most of the basil into the salad, reserving a bit to sprinkle over the top.

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Caprese Farro Salad

Ingredients

1 small red onion

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 small bunch fresh basil

a few leaves of fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 cup (180 g) dry semi-pearled farro, rinsed

2 cups (480 ml) of water

12 oz (340 g) cherry or grape tomatoes

4 ounces (115 g) fresh mozzarella

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1.) This step is optional but does add depth of flavor to the farro. Make a sachet: Cut a square of cheesecloth about 9 inches square, and a piece of butchers’ twine about 3” in length. Slice a chunk of the onion and place it in the center of the cheesecloth. Pile on the garlic clove, a few leaves of the basil (reserving the rest), the rosemary, and the peppercorns. Gather up the edges, tie securely with twine, and trim any excess.

2.) Place the sachet, farro, and water in a medium saucepan, uncovered, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

3.) While the farro cooks, halve the cherry tomatoes and finely dice the onion for about 4 tablespoons (¼ cup). Cut up the mozzarella into half-inch (1 cm) cubes. Set aside.

4.) To make the dressing, combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and ground pepper. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Adjust seasoning to taste; set aside.

5.) When the farro is done cooking, remove the sachet with tongs or a fork. Drain the farro with a fine-mesh sieve and transfer to a bowl. Pour in the dressing and mix well. Gently stir in the tomatoes and onions.

6.) Just before serving, slice some basil. The easiest way to do this is to stack about 8 to 10 leaves, roll tightly lengthwise, then slice the bundle crosswise. Gently stir most of the basil into the salad, reserving a bit to sprinkle over the top.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Irene says:

    This looks so healthy, well balanced and fresh! I have never cooked with farro, so this might be a good opportunity; I have pinned to try soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. julie says:

      I hope you love it as much as I do! Thanks for stopping by & commenting.

      Like

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