It’s been a big week, I’ll have you know. This Sunday, I ran my first half-marathon — the US Half in gorgeous SF. Then proceeded to catch me a nasty head cold — again. And today, I heard my first Christmas song. Mariah Carey, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), if you’re curious. And yes, there was a moment where the sheer Christmas cheer was cut cleanly in half by a brilliant stroke of panic that I blacked out Thanksgiving. You never know. That tryptophan is really crippling.
Gladly, the half-marathon wasn’t so bad (we had a great cheering section), the head cold is currently at the mercy of too much NyQuil (as is this blog post, I’m afraid), and we’ve yet to enjoy Thanksgiving — that I’m aware of.
Although it’s entirely possible that I wasn’t completely present for Halloween. We just didn’t get our act together in time to do the jack-o-lanterns, the cobwebs, the black lights and spooky music. I didn’t even don a costume this year, but then again, I’m kind of an all or nothing kinda gal when it comes to dressing up. It’s the pressure, you know? Like, remember when it was totally ok to just be a pumpkin, or a butterfly, or a cute little clove of garlic? What happened to that? Now, if you’re not something hip or witty or someone cleverly mocking something hip or witty, you might as well just call it. Stay home with your porch light off. And eat like 14 bags of the organic, gluten-free, non-GMO kettle corn you intended to share with the kiddos. Whoops.
Ok, back to Thanksgiving, which I had lined up so nicely before my cold-med-fueled detour.
Thanksgiving 2013, we all agree, has not yet occurred — and that’s particularly exciting because you’re gonna want this salad on your T-Day table like whoa. I mean, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t add it to your summer spreads, too, but a hearty, grain salad is just so comfy in the fall. And how elegant is grapefruit? Answer: SUPER elegant, ‘specially when it’s sliced all sexy style and sidled up alongside some fancy-pants fennel, amireeeergght?
So: farro – check! Sexy citrus – check! Roasty, licoricey veg – check! Plus salty cheese, bright herbs and a light maple dressing. Check!
Hope you enjoy this one as much as we did, friends! And MASSIVE kudos for all the race day support on Facebook. Love you guys!
PS – Oh look, a topping of veggie-friendly cheese straws doesn’t suck at all.
Note: I’ve mentioned before that Trader Joe’s offers these nifty quick cooking grains now, like farro and barley. They’re so handy, this salad comes together in half an hour — and that includes roasting time for the veggies. If you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s or you just prefer traditional farro, no worries. You’ll need a couple of cups of the cooked grain, slightly al dente, if possible, for this recipe.
- 1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 grapefruit, neatly sectioned (suprêmed, if we’re getting fancy)
- 8.8 oz package quick cooking farro (or about 2-2.5 cups farro cooked slightly al dente)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 T real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup grated Romano
- large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 450F. Toss fennel generously with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast in a single layer until golden brown and caramelized on the edges, tossing occasionally, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil quick-cooking farro in plenty of salted water until al-dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Whisk together 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice and zest, maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste.
Add fennel, grapefruit, parsley and vinaigrette to farro; toss gently. Top with Romano and extra black pepper, if desired. Serve slightly warm, chilled or at room temp. Yum.