Spring has officially arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. The days are warmer and longer and the cherry and plum blossoms are in bloom (and have been for several weeks). Everywhere, spring greens are emerging from the ground, bright and tender.
For me, spring is a time to be outdoors and what better way to spend the day than gathering greens for dinner. This kind of self-sufficiency always inspires and fortifies me. We are surrounded by food if we know where to look.
We recently attended a family style, themed dinner at The Pantry. We enjoyed homemade potato chips with smoked trout and apple slaw, caraway crackers with spruce scented cheese and honey soaked currants, some delicious hard cider that was a little too drinkable (read, we drank too much), and an amazing salad that I’ve tried to replicate here. I couldn’t recreate the intense smokiness of the farro, but I toasted it to give it a rich nuttiness. The heartiness of the farro and beets paired with the fresh cheese and bright spring greens bridges the gap between winter and spring perfectly. You can gather your own sorrel or find it at the farmer’s market.
TOASTED FARRO SALAD WITH BEETS, FRESH CHEESE AND SORREL
1 cup farro
2 cups water
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 sprigs tarragon, leaves removed, minced
1 shallot, minced
fresh, soft, sheep or goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap the beets in foil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool before removing the skins and slicing into wedges.
Heat a pot over medium high heat. Add the farro and toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and nutty. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the farro until tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Strain the farro and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, sherry vinegar, maple syrup, tarragon and shallot.
Toss the farro with the dressing and some crumbled cheese and serve the salad topped with the roasted beets and sorrel.