Winter’s grip

It may not feel like things are shifting.  There are imperceptible changes ticking the clock closer everyday to spring, sunshine, and the first wave of crisp green vegetables.  The tulips at the market on Sundays is one of those signs.

For the time being winter maintains its icy grip.  That means even salads are hearty dishes.  One example is this farro salad served with roasted pumpkin and feta.  The flavors combine to delight the tastebuds with hits of sweet, nutty, and briny notes.  It’s a vegetarian salad that can be made all the more substantial with a poached egg added at the end.

The farro can begin cooking while the pumpkin is prepared for roasting.  The grains should be allowed to simmer until tender.  Their al dente chew added texture and depth to the dish.  The pumpkin should be halved, peeled, and cleaned of seeds.  Cooking time will be dramatically reduced by cutting it into manageable chunks of equal size.  Toss with a few tablespoons of maple syrup.  Roast in the oven at 350˚F until knife tender.

Salads such as this one pair better with a red wine or sherry vinaigrette.  The vinegar’s bite gives the dish good structure.  The dressing does not have to be elaborate.  3:1 oil:vinegar with a  teaspoon or two of dijon mustard.  Whisk together and set aside.  Toss this into the farro when it is cooked, but still warm.  Do the same with the pumpkin.  As it mixes it may break up a bit.  This is fine.

The feta can either be crumbled into the dish or sliced and served on top.  Finish the dish with chopped parley, mint, and chives.

 

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