Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Winter Farro Salad

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

While planning dinner last night I realized that I was in something of a starch rut. I already had a main and a vegetable side planned, but I was at a loss for a substantial starchy side. Potatoes and rice are my go-tos, but they just seemed so plain; I was in dire need of new and exciting.

I thumbed through Salt to Taste by Marco Canora in search of some inspiration and came across this Winter Farro Salad.

Farro is a grain that I've had little experience with but seemed exotic and hearty enough to fill the missing space on my menu. Farro is a member of the wheat family and has a nutty flavor and chewy texture that reminds me of barley. It's a relatively quick-cooking grain that can be prepared and served in a similar manner to rice.

Canora has a wonderful method for preparing farro in which it is cooked with an aromatic mirepoix. Once the farro is cooked it can be served as-is or mixed into a salad with additional vegetables, herbs, oil, and vinegar. In Salt to Taste Canora lays out two recipes for farro salads, a winter version with carrots, leeks, and thyme, and a summer salad that includes tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and basil.

I made the winter salad, and it was fantastic. The earthy flavors of the farro worked perfectly with the sweet carrots and leeks, and the balsamic lent a wonderful round tart note. But like all the recipes in Salt to Taste, this farro salad is merely a jumping-off point; a variation of the same dish can be made with any combination of vegetables, herbs, and acid you see fit. Next time I'm thinking about butternut squash with sage and lemon juice.

Win Salt to Taste

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Salt to Taste to give away this week.

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