Thursday, December 13, 2012

Farro Salad with Beets, Beet greens, and Walnuts


Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the frequency at which beets turn up in my CSA box each week.  I typically make a roasted beet salad like this one with goat cheese and pistachio or this one with fresh herbs or maybe this one with dijon and feta.

Previously I've shared ideas about using beet greens and stems in a warm barley dish or using the beet greens in a taco with smokey chipotle sauce.  I was on a mission to make a dish using beets, beet greens, and stems all in one dish.


Here I combine nutty farro with roasted beets, beet greens, stems, and walnuts in a delightfully sweet/nutty/spicy vinaigrette of sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, dijon, garlic, walnut oil, and olive oil. I finished the salad with finely chopped mint and parsley.  I loved how the sweetness of the vinaigrette transformed the earthy beets and the way the nutty farro complemented the earthy sweet flavors. Walnuts add a nice crunch but can be omitted if keeping for a day or two.

The salad makes a wonderful side dish and is great in a lunch box for the next day.


Farro Salad with Beets, Beet greens, and Walnuts

1 cup farro, rinsed
1 bunch medium beets with stems and healthy greens attached or 2 bunches baby beets
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon
2 tbsp walnut oil
4 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp olive oil divided
sea saltfreshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
1/4 cup walnuts

Trim greens away from stems. Chop stems into small 1/4" dice, and set aside. Chop greens into 1" ribbons and set aside separate from stems.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, salt, and add farro.  Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 45 minutes until farro is tender.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425.  Wash beets thoroughly, trim roots and cut off stalks, leaving 1" attached. Place in a baking dish and add 2 whole garlic cloves, season salt, and toss with olive oil. Cover tray with foil and roast 1 hr to 1 hr 30 minutes, until beets are tender. If using baby beets, 45 minutes may be long enough.  Once beets are cool enough to handle, slip off skins. You may want to use gloves or peel skin off under running water to avoid staining your hands. Slice into halves and then cut each half into quarters or thirds. Set aside in a large bowl.

Fill a large skillet with 1.5 to 2" of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Salt, and add beet stems, cooking for 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside in same large bowl with beets.  Wipe skillet dry and heat over moderately high heat. Add 1 tsbp olive oil, and once shimmery, and minced garlic from 1 clove, cook 30 seconds.  Add beet greens, stir to coat well and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside in large bowl with beets and stems.

In a small bowl, smash 1 clove of garlic to a paste with salt. Add sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and dijon; slowly whisk in walnut oil and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour half of the dressing over large bowl filled with beets, stems, greens. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Toss remaining dressing with farro.  Add farro to bowl with beets. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with chopped herbs and walnuts.

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