CSA Week 9, plus farro, lentil, and roasted summer vegetable salad
After a whirlwind weekend out of town for my younger brother’s wedding, we’re settling back in at home. The wedding was great: lots of good times with family, a very happy couple, plus since the wedding was in Philadelphia, I tried my first ever Philly cheesesteak sandwich. It was a gut buster, but pretty tasty. The weather was just gorgeous for the wedding…about 80 and sunny all weekend! All weekend, that is, until we drove home Sunday — through a hailstorm in northern PA. I know hail gets much worse than this, but to have marble-sized chunks of ice slamming into your windshield and car roof is, in a word, disconcerting. It was a bizarre mix of icy chunks on the road while the sun peeked through the clouds…
But, we made it back and are now reveling in Olympics-watching. And, eating tasty vegetables! I was excited about what we got in our share last week; it was a feast of green and purple tones. August is definitely here!
- 2 slim Japanese eggplants – beauties!
- baby salad greens
- a petite, prettily veined red cabbage
- baby bok choy
- green beans
- 2 green peppers
Some thoughts: with the green beans, one of my favorite ways to eat them is blanched in salted boiling water, then drained and tossed while still warm with some good, fruity olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a shower of finely chopped herbs, sea salt and pepper. In my opinion, that’s just one of the very best ways to eat green beans!
I’m thinking of doing some stuffed peppers with the green peppers…maybe with some brown rice, vegetables and sausage?
The cucumbers are slated for Jen’s Japanese cucumber salad.
And with the eggplants, fennel, garlic, and some zucchini and yellow squash I still had from last week’s share, I made this farro, lentil and roasted summer vegetable salad which is *perfect* for using many of the vegetables that are in season right now. It’s also peppered throughout with chopped mixed herbs, picked fresh from my garden. Yum!
I adapted the Farro & Roasted Vegetable salad from Jamie Oliver’s wonderful book Jamie’s Italy, adding some little French green lentils for additional protein. If you’ve never tried farro (very closely related to spelt), it’s worth giving it a try — it’s one of my favorite grains. The grains are similar to wheat berries, pleasantly nutty and with a good toothsome bite to them, and they don’t get mushy after sitting in a salad such as this one for a time.
Which, by the way, makes this dish a perfect candidate for picnic fare, lunches during the week, or pot-luck fare…we had some for dinner tonight, and I’m looking forward to eating more for lunch tomorrow! In the words of Jamie O. as he says so often on Jamie at Home (currently the only show I’m watching on FN), “this is the kind of food I love, love, love to eat.” Mmmm hmmm.
Farro, Lentil & Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad
The recipe in Jamie’s Italy doubles the ingredients below, which you can certainly do to feed more people. I added some of the small green French lentils (Le Puy lentils), and the result is a really delicious and nutritious main course salad or side dish.
If you like, top it with a little crumbled feta or goat cheese – it would be a delicious complement to the salad.
1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
2 zucchini, seeds scraped out of the middle and cut into half moon shapes
1 yellow squash, seeds scraped out of the middle and cut into half moon shapes
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 fennel bulb, cut into slices
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
1 garlic clove
good quality olive oil
white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
a good bunch of fresh herbs – I used a combination of basil, oregano, chives, parsley, and mint
7 ounces farro, spelt, or wheat berries
1 cup small French green lentils (Le Puy)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the chopped eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, fennel, red pepper, onion, and garlic clove on a heavy aluminum baking sheet. Drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper, and use your hands to gently toss to combine. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and tender. Place the pan on a rack to cool, and drizzle the vegetables with a little white wine vinegar while they’re still warm. When they’re cool, transfer the vegetables to a cutting board and coarsely chop into smaller pieces. Set aside.
Meanwhile, soak the farro for 20 minutes in cold water. Drain, then transfer the grains to a saucepan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until tender. (*Note: sometimes the only kind of farro you’ll be able to find is pearled farro, which has part of the outer bran removed and does not take as long to cook. If this is the kind you’re using, just adjust the cooking time accordingly.)
Drain the cooked farro when it’s tender but still has a little bite, and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over the grains, squeeze the juice of a lemon over the grains, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Toss to thoroughly combine, and set aside to cool.
Add water back to the saucepan, bring to a boil, then add the lentils. Turn down the heat and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and toss with just a little olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Let cool.
Chop your herbs and have them ready to go. In a large serving bowl, toss together the chopped vegetables, farro, and lentils. Add the chopped herbs and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.
Makes about 4 (large) to 6 servings.