Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen was undoubtedly my first and only ongoing food blog addiction. Who doesn’t love reading her wax on about each ingredient, properly document it with a gorgeous photograph set on that familiar grey marbled countertop and proceed into a story inevitably leaving you with a smile on your face and a grumble in your belly. I always leave her website with a newfound appreciation for food & photography, the way she captures the beauty in a simple beet and makes cooking approachable for everyone.
Needless to say, I was delighted to receive her new cookbook for Christmas from my good friend who is also smitten with Deb’s kitchen. If you live in Atlanta and have the book or want to get it, she’ll be in Atlanta signing one month from today on Thursday, February 28th. Hopefully she’ll bring samples or at least her CUTEST SON EVER!
While my grain salad repertoire is quickly multiplying, this dish is definitely the most unique. I have an affinity towards farro from my stage days in Italy. We served the grain simply with a julienne of various vegetables, none of which I could ever slice thinly or quickly enough, as part of a house antipasti assortment. I can clearly recall my stress levels skyrocketing as the time to slice veggies neared and still cannot fathom how the sous chef cut through peppers, carrots, and zucchini all at lightening speed and with hardly a glance down.
Alas, you’re at home with nobody watching so take a breath and take your time cutting symmetrical 2-inch batons from the parsnips & carrots. Play around with the dressing until the balance of sweet and spicy suits you. Take a picture of your pretty work and enjoy the finished product with good friends and better stories.
Honey & Harissa Farro Salad (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
NOTE: Farro can be purchased at the DeKalb Farmers Market and Toscano & Sons in West Midtown. I also finally found harissa, a Moroccan chili sauce, at Sur la Table although siracha was a great substitute. If you don't appreciate kitchen time as much as you appreciate good food email firstname.lastname@example.org for catering!
- 1 cup farro
- 4 cups water
- 7 T olive oil, divided
- ½ pound carrots, cut in 2″ batons
- 1 pound parsnips, cut in 2″ batons
- 1 can kidney beans, drained
- ½ t harissa or siracha
- 1 t honey
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- pinch of cumin
- salt & pepper
- ¾ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta
- mint & parsley, chopped (opt)
- Combine farro with salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain any remaining water.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Toss carrots & parsnips with 2T olive oil and roast for 20 minutes. Toss with kidney beans and roast an additional 10 minutes.
- Combine honey, chili sauce and lemon juice in a bowl and gradually whisk in remaining 5T of olive oil. Season with cumin, salt, pepper and additional chili sauce to taste.
- Toss vegetables, beans, cheese and farro with dressing, reserving a little cheese for garnish. Use chopped mint and/or parsley for additional garnish.