To begin, you need to cook, drain, and dry the farro. Once tender, I strained off the cooking water and spread the grains on a towel-lined baking sheet to let them cool and dry. The dried, cooked grains were then fried in small batches in a saucepan of oil. I can tell you the grains want to stick to a spoon both when lowering them into the oil and when removing them from the oil. It helps to have two spoons handy so one can be used for scooping up the grains and the other can be used for scraping grains from the first spoon. After frying, the grains were left to drain on paper towels and sprinkled with salt. This step can be done in advance, and the crisped farro can be left at room temperature. But I did find them a bit addictive and kept reaching back for tastes risking not having enough for the salad. The vinaigrette needs to be started in advance as well since tomato slices need to roast for 30 minutes. Once roasted and cooled, the slices were added to a blender with thyme, white miso, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to be pureed until smooth while olive oil was added. The recipe calls for purslane and arugula, and I was lucky enough to be at the Boggy Creek Farmstand on a day when they had purslane. There was no arugula though, so I used baby mustard greens instead. But, any sturdy, flavorful salad greens would work here. The salad was built by placing tomato slices on a platter and drizzling them with some vinaigrette. Next, the salad greens were tossed with vinaigrette, and they were placed on top of the tomatoes. Last, the crisped farro was sprinkled on top.
This vinaigrette made me wonder why I’m not putting miso into every salad dressing I make. With the roasted tomato, the big flavors were a great match for salad greens with character. Thankfully, I didn’t snack on every last bit of crisped farro before finishing the salad because the grains added a tasty contrast in texture. This book is for everyone who needs fresh new ideas for all those farmers’ market vegetables. It even has me looking forward to turnip season, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that before.
Tomato Salad with Crisped Farro, Purslane, Arugula, and Roasted Tomato-Miso Vinaigrette
Recipe reprinted with publisher’s permission from The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson, published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers.
Great tomatoes sprinkled with kosher salt are enough to make me giddy, but when you add an awesome vinaigrette, some wonderfully fresh greens, and the crisp texture of fried farro, then I am over the moon. This is summer. Bring on the front-porch dinners.
1⁄2 cup farro
2 cups peanut oil
2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cored, halved, and sliced into half-moons
1⁄3 cup Roasted Tomato–Miso Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 cups fresh purslane
2 cups arugula leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, and add 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt and the farro. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the farro until it is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Strain the farro. Spread it out on a large platter lined with paper towels to steam off and drain off as much of the water as possible.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the peanut oil to 350°F. Add the farro, in batches, and fry until crisp, 1 to 11⁄2 minutes. You want the grains to be crisp but not like little rocks. Remove from the oil and drain on the platter, lined with fresh paper towels. Season with kosher salt to taste.
3. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a large platter and season them with kosher salt. Drizzle half of the vinaigrette over the tomatoes. In a large bowl, combine the purslane and the arugula. Dress the greens with the remaining vinaigrette and toss well. Place the greens in the center of the platter. Garnish with the crisp farro and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Eat, and eat well.
Roasted Tomato-Miso Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 1⁄2 cups
1 large heirloom tomato
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon Japanese soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Core the tomato and cut it into thick rounds. Season the tomato slices with the kosher salt and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, until the tomato slices are concentrated and very soft.
3. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and let them cool to room temperature. When they have cooled, place them in a blender and add the thyme, miso, soy sauce, and vinegar. Puree until smooth, and then, with the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The dressing will keep for a week in a jar in the fridge.
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