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


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


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.)


Aunt Suzy says . . .

This tasty and healthy salad was introduced to us by “Aunt Cindy and Uncle John” (my brother and his wife).  They had recently made this for Cindy’s niece’s bridal shower and loved it so much they made it for Mom/Granny’s 86th birthday party.  I discovered the original recipe on  Two adaptations were made from the original – roasting the asparagus instead of adding it to the edamame cooking water and using marinated artichoke hearts vs. plain. We all agreed that this is a “keeper”!  It’s fast, easy to make, delicious and impressive.  When we saw that they were using a jar of pre-shaved Parmesan cheese purchased at Costco, we thought this recipe would fit right in with the Sandra Lee semi-homemade approach :-).  So if you use the pre-shaved cheese, it’s even faster to make!

These quantities make 4-6 servings and the recipe can easily be made in larger quantities by doubling or tripling.


1 garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (14-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 pound medium asparagus, tough ends removed, and cut diagonally into thirds
1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 cup)


1. Rub the inside of a large salad bowl with cut sides of the garlic clove; discard garlic.

2. Add oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl and whisk until slightly emulsified. Add the artichokes, tossing gently and set aside at room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, place the edamame in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until asparagus and edamame are crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Rinse under cold water, drain well, and blot dry with a towel or paper towels.  FOR ROASTED ASPARAGUS:  Cook the edamame for about 5 minutes, drain and pat dry.  Oven roast or grill the asparagus whole, lightly coated with a little olive oil.  Once done, cut into 2-inch pieces.  Proceed to step 4.

4. Add asparagus and edamame to the artichoke mixture and toss to blend.  Arrange shaved Parmesan over all and serve.

Tabbouleh with Chickpeas

July 18, 2010

Aunt Suzy says

I subscribe to Weeknight Kitchen from The Splendid Table,  an email with an easy-to-make supper recipe that comes out each Wednesday.  This recipe turns Tabbouleh into a main dish salad and utilizes the current season’s produce.  What could be better!

A note about ingredients and quantities:

The original recipe called for a cup and a half of bulgur but when I made this recently when visiting Margaux’s Mom, we both agreed that we wanted more vegetables/herbs and less bulgur.  Quinoa could be substituted for the bulgur.   I also think this is a recipe where quantities are guidelines.  Randy and I will try more mint next time and a little more cayenne pepper.  I have a hunch that cumin and paprika would be nice additions to the dressing.  To make judging quantities easier, I put the measured amount I used in parentheses for some items.  Whether you follow the recipe to the letter or use it as a jumping off point for your own creation, I think you will enjoy it.

The Dressing

1/4 cup EV olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 large clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press

a pinch each of cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper

Blend all together and set aside while making the salad.

The Salad

1 cup bulgur wheat

1-2 tomatoes, seeded and diced (1 cup)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced (1 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup diced onion

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup fresh spearmint, chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Place the bulgur in a large bowl and add 1 cup boiling water.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Add tomato, cucumber and onion and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chickpeas and the dressing and stir to blend well.  Add the mint and parsley, stir again, taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve on a bed of lettuce, with pita and hummus – maybe some olives.

Another suggestion was to serve as a sandwich in a pita pocket, which we did today.  We spread the inside of the pita with some garlicky hummus, then placed the salad inside the pita.  My upstairs neighbor, Krisztina, had some fresh Hungarian peppers in the garden.  We sliced one up and added to the sandwiches along with some feta crumbles I got at the farmer’s market yesterday from Singing Hills Goat Dairy.  Delicious with lemon-mint iced tea.