Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Breakfast Sitting Salad (Apple Farro pilaf) - Easy















Do you remember way back when you were a brownie or girl scout?  This might be difficult if you are a male Dear Reader, but keep reading anyway.   One easy recipe we learned to make was called a Walking Salad.  My troop's version was a hollowed-out apple filled with a mixture of the chopped apple innards, raisins, celery, walnuts and mayo.  The theory behind its quirky name was that we supposedly could carry and eat said salad while walking about or hiking in the local park.  In reality, after a couple of bites most of the salad would spill out all over our hands or hit the ground to be eaten later by a lucky squirrel.

This salad is more suited to breakfast.  And to sitting, hence the even more quirky name.   It's very easy to throw together, and you can vary the ingredients for a different breakfast every day.   For example, I prefer to use walnuts in homage to the original recipe of my youth, but pretty much any of your favorite nuts can be used.

Likewise for the apple.  Use whatever type of apple you have on you kitchen counter.  The finished product is more appealing if you don't go a-peeling (just under the peel is where most of the healthy vits tend to hang out ... or so I've heard).    By the way, I cheated on the coring ... just slice hunks off the apple, then coarsely chopped said hunks.  Ginger was never an ingredient in the classic recipe (I don't think it existed back then except in ginger ale), but it seems a natural, if optional, accompaniment.














Oatmeal can sub, but farro holds its shape better, making it a little more salady-ish.   Have I mentioned farro in an earlier post?  Rhetorical question ... the answer is no.  Farro, also known as emmer, is an ancient grain related to wheat.  For thousands of years it was grown in Egypt and Israel before spreading to the Mediterranean and Europe, especially Italy, eventually becoming a crop in the US as well.  It is one of the 5 Species of Grain that, when made into dough, is chametz (HAH-metz), which is forbidden during Passover.

High in fiber and protein and almost no fat, it has a slightly chewing consistency and a light nutty taste, sort of like brown rice but less mushy.  According to one purveyor of farro, it is very low in gluten, so those with mild gluten sensitivities might be able to tolerate it.  

Until relatively recently, farro could only be found in specialty stores, but now even my local Try-n-Save carries it.  So you don't have any excuse not to try some.  Especially with such an easy recipe as this one.  Make sure you buy pearled farro, which has been hulled so that it cooks in almost no time, if you think that 15 minutes is no time.  If you don't have the luxury of 15 extra minutes in the morning, whip up a batch the evening before and refrigerate it.  The next morning, simply nuke the amount needed.  By the time you assemble the remaining ingredients the farro will be hot and ready.  And in a good way.

Breakfast Sitting Salad - Easy
Serves 2

1/2 cup uncooked pearled farro
2 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbl. chopped walnuts
1 apple, cored and chopped
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. raisins
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt (optional)
Dash of ground ginger (optional)

Rinse farro, then place in a 2 quart saucepan with the 2 cups of water.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Carefully drain, then divide cooked farro between two breakfast bowls.

Pretend I remembered to add the raisins.
Top evenly with remaining ingredients and stir. Serve warm.

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