Farro is the Tuscan name for spelt, a hard brown wheat traditionally eaten in Tuscany, Italy. Farro looks similar to short grain brown rice, and has a nutty, earthy taste. Farro’s chewy texture holds up even after long cooking. Because of its hard texture, it’s good to soak farro overnight in order to make it more digestible. If you don’t have time to soak the farro, simply cook it for an extra 30 minutes with an additional ½ cup of water added to the 2½ cups called for in the recipe.
1 cup farro, soaked overnight
5 tablespoons créme fraiche
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
¼ cup minced fresh dill
¼ cup minced fresh chives (or scallions, green part only)
1 beet, cut in half
1 fennel bulb cut in half, core removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the farro in a small saucepan with 2½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Drain excess cooking water.
In a large bowl, whisk together the créme fraiche, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, dill and chives. Salt to taste. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly shave the beets, fennel, and radishes. Add the shaved vegetables and the farro to the dressing, and toss to coat thoroughly. Taste and season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
Recipe copyright © Louisa Shafia 2010