This salad is delicious for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It's easy to make (particularly if you have cooked farro on hand), healthy, and satisfying. To add more spice, fold preserved Calabrian chiles or pickled chiles into the farro in place of the Aleppo pepper. If you're an anchovy fan, add some chopped anchovy to the saute pan along with the garlic. In place of the broccoli raab, try toasted broccoli or cauliflower. Or prepare the salad without the eggs and add a handful of tiny cubes of aged or fresh pecorino.
For company, make farro on the day of the meal and hold at room temperature before serving. Cook extra to store in the refrigerator; let it return to room temperature before combining with the other ingredients for this salad.
3/4 cup farro
3/4 pound broccoli raab
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar; more as needed
2 to 4 very fresh eggs
Aleppo pepper, for sprinkling
1. Bring a medium pot of water (about 2-1/2 quarts) to a boil. Season with a generous amount of salt — it should taste almost like seawater. Add the farro, reduce the heat to maintain a low boil, and cook until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool at room temperature.
2. Trim the stems of the broccoli raab. The stems should be tender and crisp, and not at all woody; trim off as much as necessary. Cut the remaining stems crosswise into 1/2-inch segments, and slice the leafy greens into about 1-inch-wide ribbons. Wash and drain the broccoli raab, but leave a good amount of water clinging to the leaves.
3. Warm a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, swirl to coat the pan, and add the broccoli raab in large handfuls. When the raab has wilted, season it with salt, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. The residual water from washing should be enough to cook the raab, but if the pan dries out before it is cooked, add a splash more water as necessary. The cooking time will vary depending on the texture of the greens; tender broccoli raab will cook in about 4 minutes; more fibrous raab can take up to 12 minutes. When the broccoli raab is done, push it to the side to clear a space in the center of the pan, add a tablespoon of oil and the garlic, and saute just until you smell the garlic, about 1 minute. (The garlic tastes best if it sautes quickly, directly on the pan, rather than on the greens.) Stir the broccoli raab into the garlic and remove from the heat.
4. Put the farro and broccoli raab in a large work bowl. Put 1-1/2 tablespoons of the vinegar in a small bowl and season with salt. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Drizzle the vinaigrette on the farro and broccoli raab and stir gently to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt or vinegar if necessary. Set aside at room temperature.
5. To poach the eggs, fill a straight-sided heavy saute pan with about 3 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar. Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a teacup and gently slide them into the water. Gently simmer the eggs, turning once or twice, until they are done to your liking, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and blot off any excess water with a clean, lint-free kitchen towel. (For a neater appearance, trim the eggs as well.)
6. Stir the farro once more and spoon into shallow serving bowls. Prop 1 or 2 eggs next to the farro. Drizzle a thin stream of olive oil on top. Using a fork, gently pierce one side of the yolk and fold back the thin egg white to expose the runny yolk. Season with salt and sprinkle the entire dish with Aleppo pepper. Serve immediately.
Add Substance: Saute bacon or pancetta and add to the salad or drape prosciutto on the finished plate.
More About Farro: Farro has a delicate, slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture. It's delicious simply dressed with good olive oil, a few drops of vinegar (too much acid will quickly overwhelm its flavor), and salt. When shopping, you may find several different types that vary in cooking — and soaking — time. Whole-grain farro from Italy labeled perlato or semiperlato is ideal for salads. This farro has been abraded — some of the outer brown hull has been removed — and cooks in about 20 minutes. Farro integrale is an option as well, but it has not been abraded, so it requires several hours of soaking and takes longer to cook. Its texture is also more toothsome.
From Salad for Dinner: Simple Recipes for Salads that Make a Meal by Tasha DeSerio (The Taunton Press, 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Tasha DeSerio. Photography copyright © 2012 by Kate Sears. All rights reserved. Used with permission of The Taunton Press.
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