Saturday, May 24, 2014

Farro and Palm Hearts Salad

Whenever I happen to be in McLean's Tysons Galleria at midday I am always amazed by a long line of people waiting to get their lunch at Sweet Leaf--a vegetarian place where you can get a salad of your own design--and not only that. There are many young women in that crowd watching their diet but, what surprises me even more, there are equally as many business-dressed men waiting to buy their salad lunch as well.

It makes me think that we are becoming more and more vegetarian, watching our diet and calories intake. I also have noticed a similar trend when I am having friends over. Salads often win against meat dishes. This salad was just another culinary experiment and I made it with farro, which I have not been using too often so far.

Farro is an ancient nutritious grain, which thanks to its values became quite popular recently and by now is quite easily available. You can get 10 minutes farro from TJ but I prefer the one from Whole Foods which take a little longer to cook but has more texture. I combined it with palm hearts, which are very rich in iron, and spiced up with watercress leaves and red oranges. This salad has a differentiated texture and a delicate taste but at the same time it is very nutritious: a perfect lunch meal for Sweet Leaf aficionados.

Farro and Palm Hearts Salad

1 cup farro,
1 can palm hearts cut into half-inch slices,
4 oz watercress salad,
2 oranges, preferably bloody,
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped,
1/2 red onion, finely chopped,
juice from one large lemon,
4 tbsp olive oil,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Cook farro according to instruction (10-15 minutes), drain and cool.
2. In a large bowl, put together farro, palm hearts, chopped onion, and hazelnuts.
3. Cut out the skin from the oranges and using a small sharp knife get out the flesh without white membranes. Add orange pieces to the bowl with farro and mix.
4. Finally, add to the salad water cress leaves and gently incorporate to it.

5. In a small bowl, mix oil with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad. Mix gently again and serve.