Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mediterranean Farro Salad With Grilled Radicchio And Anchovy Vinaigrette

Mediterranean Farro Salad With Grilled Radicchio And Anchovy Vinaigrette recipe

I think there are three camps when it comes to radicchio: love it, hate it, never tried it.  I have never heard remarks of ambivalence about this red leafy vegetable. I think the polarizing factor is its bitterness. Before this salad, I only knew radicchio {along with frisee, both of which are members of the chicory family} as the ingredient in mixed greens that I did not care for.  It was an act of bravery and a curiosity stemming from the old lemon-caper-anchovy trio of ingredients that compelled me to give this recipe a try.  This recipe that I tore from my local newspaper years ago and continually passed over when figuring out "what's for dinner". Maybe I just wasn't ready before but I am certainly glad I took the plunge just now.  

Here are a few things I wanted to share about this salad... The radicchio mellows a bit when grilled but is still the prominent flavor of this dish. I think what makes this salad so crave-worthy is that firm, nutty farro performs a balancing act against the radicchio and with each bite you'll enjoy a little bitterness followed by a subtle hint of anchovy, a brininess from the capers, and final palette- cleansing hint of citrus.  This is a perfect example of a recipe whose sum is greater than the parts.  The combination of ingredients works. Prepare your palate and give this a try!

Mediterranean Farro Salad With Grilled Radicchio And Anchovy Vinaigrette
8 c water
1 t salt
1 c +  1/2 c farro
2 heads radicchio
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 flat anchovies, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T lemon juice + 1 lemon cut into wedges
1 T capers
1/2 cup crumbled vegetarian bacon {make your own recipe here and avoid soy protein isolates/concentrates}
chopped fresh parsley leaves

Boil the water in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the salt and stir in the farro. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over medium-low heat until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

While the farro is cooking, grill the radicchio. Cut each head of radicchio into 6 wedges. Brush the wedges with 3 T olive oil. Grill over medium high heat on a stove top cast-iron grill pan, an electric indoor grill or an outdoor grill.  You'll want the radicchio to be tender and browned - not charred black.

Remove the radicchio from the grill and let it cool enough to handle. Remove the core from the radicchio wedges. Discard the core; cut the remaining radicchio into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Add to the farro and toss.

To make the dressing, place anchovies, garlic, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and remaining 2 T olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth.

Pour the dressing over the farro and toss. Stir in the capers, bacon and parsley. Divide salad among 6 plates. Serve at room temperature with a lemon wedges.

Serves 6.

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Adapted from the LA Times

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