Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tomato Salad with Crisped Farro, Purslane, and Roasted Tomato-Miso Vinaigrette

Do you know what’s happened? Including this one, I’ve just given you five posts in a row about salads. Apparently, I don’t call it salad season for nothing. I promise to bring something else to the blog soon and maybe even bake something. But for today, here’s another really great salad for beautiful tomatoes. I received a review copy of The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson and immediately appreciated the book’s intent. Acheson was inspired to offer ideas for cooking with several common types of produce from farmers’ markets and CSA’s, and of course his humor is injected throughout the book. There are about four recipes each for 50 different seasonal items, and they’re the kind of interesting recipes that get you thinking of new ways to use these ingredients. I’m wishing our local season for artichokes wasn’t over yet now that I see the Pickled Shrimp, Crisp Artichokes, and Butter Lettuce dish and Shaved Artichokes, Bay Scallops, and Preserved Lemon. For summer corn, there’s Perfect Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Creamed Corn, Lemongrass, and Crisp Shallots. And, since this year’s first appearance of purple hull peas just arrived from our CSA, I can’t wait to try the Gratin of Field Peas and Roasted Tomatoes or Fried Black-Eyed Peas. I grabbed one of the first local melons I found and tried the Sauteed Catfish with Cantaloupe, Lime, and Cilantro Salsa. I love the flavors of sweet fruit with spicy chiles in a salsa for seafood, and this was a delicious example of that combination. Next, I found myself stuck in the Tomato section on this salad with crispy farro and that lovely-sounding Roasted Tomato-Miso Vinaigrette. Those two components make this much more than a simple act of layering sliced tomatoes and salad greens. 

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. 

Serves 4 

Kosher salt 
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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  1. This is scrumptious with the combo of flavours. Can't wait to give that vinaigrette a try!

  2. Fabulous and very original, as usual!



  3. Yummy! It just like all your meals looks very delicious! :)

  4. I knew there'd been a few salads but I didn't realise you were up to five. How lovely to be in the middle of salad season. When we had salad season I made quite a few with farro; it's a lovely grain xx

  5. bring on the salads! this one is particularly lovely in presentation!

  6. Hi Lisa, your presentation of this salad is so pretty, everything looks so delicious.

  7. Wow, damn delicious refreshing & colorfull salad!!!
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

  8. Even though it's Winter here I like the sound of these salads a lot! So please keep them coming and I'll keep dreaming of summer weather and eating these salads :D

  9. One can never have too many salads! Particularly at this time of the year -- we're eating a big salad for dinner most days of the week. This looks lovely -- thanks.

  10. So perfectly fresh! What a lovely combo, Lisa. Thanks for sharing.

  11. OMG! I totally crave this salad! Such a wonderful creation!

  12. I am definitely in salad mode lately, so you don't have to apologize! In fact, I think I might have to make this tonight!

  13. I adore I've found another way to use it! (I think it's greatly under-used. So many grains are ignored.) And Crisped. Imagine that! Such a great idea, Lisa. Love the oriental flavor of the vinaigrette too.


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