Beet and Farro Salad with Smoked Trout

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I have become enamored with farro, an ancient grain that’s a species of wheat. (I love this NPR article that includes a few recipes.)  I saw this recipe as I was about to head out to the farmer’s market. Beets are just coming in now  up here in Minnesota, and I love using both the beet root and tops in dishes. Star Prairie Trout Farm sells at the market – fresh and smoked – and I had some farro on hand, so I was set!  We really enjoyed this and Randy remarked that he would like it equally as a side salad without the trout. A dry rosé wine was a perfect complement.

Adapted from Food and Wine

INGREDIENTS

3 small beets (1/2 pound)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
4 cups water
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro (8 ounces)
1 shallot, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground pepper
6 ounces skinless smoked trout fillet, flaked
2 cups chopped beet greens or Swiss chard—stems removed, leaves washed and finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small baking dish, lightly drizzle the beets with olive oil and rub to coat. Cover the dish with foil and roast for about 1 hour, until the beets are tender. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut into 1/2-inch dice.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, water and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil. Stir in the farro and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer the farro to a bowl. Discard the garlic and herbs. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, combine the shallot, lemon juice and honey. Gradually whisk in the 1/3 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper.  In a medium bowl, toss 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the trout.

To the farro, add the diced beets, the chopped greens and the remaining dressing and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, scatter the trout on top and serve. (I think this could also be served slightly warm. Definitely the flavors will be more pronounced if not chilled before serving.)

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Aunt Suzy says

Just when I’m stuck for something good to cook, Food and Wine pushes out a recipe into my Facebook feed that says “make me!”.   This one caught my eye  – after all, it’s green bean season – and it is a winner!  I did only a little tweaking of the amounts and method. This is definitely a recipe I will make again (and maybe again).  This was delicious with a Pinot Grigio, but I have a hunch that the perfect match will be a dry French rose.

Margaux says

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!  This is an instant staple in our house.  I couldn’t stop eating it the night I made it, and I can’t wait until I make it again.  We had it with some crusty bread and a Sauvignon Blanc.  But I agree about the rose…we’ll do that next time.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Update July 1, 2013 – this is delicious without the tuna as a side salad.  I just made it and served with grilled chicken and it was outstanding.  I’ve always wondered why someone would think to put orzo with potato salad, but this time I really noticed the mouth appeal of that combination and understood completely!

The Dressing

1/4 cup EV olive oil

juice of one medium lemon

1 large or two small garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)

Combine and whisk all ingredients till thorougly blended and a little emulsified.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

The Salad

1 pound green beans, trimmed and snapped in half

1 pound small new potatoes

1 cup orzo

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

2 six-ounce cans of tuna packed in olive oil, drained

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Place green beans in a steamer, bring water to a boil and steam for 5 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in a large bowl.  At the same time, place unpeeled potatoes in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.  Drain and cool slightly.  Slice in half or quarters depending on size.  Add to the bowl with the green beans.  Cook the orzo according to directions.  Add to the bowl.  Add 3/4 of the dressing while this mixture is still warm and gently stir to blend.

Slice the tomatoes in half.  Chop the basil and parsley.  Add the tomatoes, herbs and the tuna to the bowl with the remainder of the dressing.  Gently toss to coat all ingredients with the dressing and thoroughly blend.  Garnish with a few small basil leaves.  Serve in individual bowls on a bed of lettuce.