Since #EatAtMoms is no longer a working website, I was trying to figure out where to put this recipe. I guess I’ll resume putting recipes here. Several friends requested this. I usually just throw stuff together, assemble, and take an Instagram. I think to myself that anyone could do what I do. Can’t you see what I did here? No? OK, then I’ll write it down. Crack me up. Especially for Sue PR. And everyone else! It was great.
Blistered vegetables happen when you heat a 12-inch non-stick frying pan until it’s smoking hot. The vegetables come out soft in the middle, a little bit crisp around the edges, and yield a natural sweetness. For this recipe, which is more of a composed salad than a starch with vegetables, I searched the refrigerators for the appropriate suspects. Most were a few days beyond their peak value. This was a great way to clean out the refrigerator. Farro is an ancient grain, wheat, and easy as heck to cook. A cup of dried farro in salted boiling water yields three cups of nutty and tender barley-like grains. The balsamic vinaigrette added just the right moisture and savory sweet to unify the veggies with the grains. Remarkable. You’ll see.
Farro with Blistered Vegetables
Prepare farro according to package instructions, set aside if using right away, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature if you’re building this meal on another day.
Cut into one-inch chunks several vegetables. I used:
You could also use other summer squash, diced onion, julienned greens like kale or collards, a few handfuls of fresh spinach.
To the searing hot pan toss in the eggplant. Sprinkle with salt. Let them sit in the pan for 3-4 minutes until they brown on the bottom side and start to get tender. Swirl in some olive oil, swish the eggplant around in the pan until it’s at that great soft consistency. Remove to a bowl. Add the next vegetable. Sprinkle with salt. After the bell peppers cooked for about 4 minutes, I sprinkled more olive oil in the pan, threw in the zucchini chunks and let them sear for another 3-4 minutes with the peppers. Place in the bowl with the eggplant. Half or quarter the grape tomatoes and add them to the pan. Sprinkle with salt. After they start to melt a little and their skins start to brown, swish in more olive oil and add the shallots. Let the shallots soften and the tomatoes reduce further for another 4 minutes. Remove to the vegetable bowl. Let them cool a little.
I like this at room temperature. Can you tell?
For the vinaigrette whisk together 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, minced shallot, a sprinkle of dill, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup olive oil. Let rest a few minutes, it will thicken thanks to the mustard.
Assemble: Spoon vegetables on two sides of your bowl, fill the center with a scoop of farro. Drizzle with dressing.
This is very much like ratatouille, another one of my favorite dishes.
Another version of this could include winter squash, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, beets, fennel bulbs, and turnips; blanched and blistered or roasted in the oven. The dressing would complement both styles, or use your own.