Salute the Salad : Farro, Herb-baked Tomatoes, Roast Carrots and Parmesan

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2016) and taken from “Savour : Salads for all seasons” by Peter Gordon.

Farro is a grain that has had a lot of attention in recent years.  I enjoy its texture and often use it in salads such as this.  Roast tomatoes are great in summer, when cooking makes them even sweeter.  In cooler months, roasting improves the flavour of hothouse-raised ones.

herb baked tomatoesServes 6 as a starter or side dish

Serve at room temperature

Ingredients :
300g farro, rinsed and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tblsp baby capers
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
3 carrots (use orange and purple ones), peeled and tops cut off, halved lengthways
4 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthways
1 tsp roughly chopped oregano
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
2 handfuls rocket
50g parmesan, shaved with a sharp knife

Step One : Preheat the oven to 170oC / 350oF / Gas mark 4.  Put the farro into a medium pan, cover with 3 cm of cold water and add the onion and bay leaf.  Bring to the boil and put a lid on the pan.  Reduce the heat to a rapid simmer and cook until the grains are tender, about 40 minutes.  Add 1 tsp of flaky salt after 20 minutes.  Drain in a colander, then transfer to a large bowl.  Taste for seasoning and mix in the capers and vinegar.  Leave to cool.

Step Two : While the farro is cooking, lay the carrots in a roasting dish, drizzle on 2 tblsp of the oil and half the thyme, season with salt and pepper and add 2 tblsp of water.  Roast for about 30 minutes; until you can easily insert a sharp knife through them.  Cut each into 5 or 6 pieces.

Step Three : Lay the tomato halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment (to make it easier to clean).  Mix the oregano, rosemary and the remaining thyme and 2 tblsp of oil and drizzle this on the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until the tomatoes have shrunk a little and coloured slightly.

Step Four : To serve, toss the rocket loosely through the farro and divide among your plates.  Sit the carrots and tomatoes on top, pour on any roasting juices and then scatter with parmesan shavings.

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