I am about to head off to the Hamptons for a month! I’m thinking long white sandy beaches, warm sea water, sunshine and one of those coconut drinks I sipped in the Dominican last month. And somewhere in between the lounging and galavanting, I’ll fit in the work that is the reason why I’m going and realise that it’s still only April and yesterdays rise in temperature was only a teaser. April showers are not over yet. So there may not be any swimming but I will be near the beach, albeit a cold one- and that has me thinking of eating summer foods. The kind you eat on your back deck, looking out over the ocean as the sun goes down sipping on a glass of pinot grigio….and there I go again- must have been yesterdays injection of vitamin D that has me dreaming. Amazing what a little sun can do for one’s mood.
This is my kind of salad- a bit of protein, some crunch vegetables, some fruit and a few grains for fiber to keep you going until tea time. Farro is a wonderfully wholesome, nutty grain that makes Don raise an eyebrow and ask if I’m feeding him squirrel food again. You can swap it for absolutely any grain but I think something with a bit of texture is nice- Israeli couscous would be great. All in all it’s just begging to be packed up with a bottle of bubbly in a cooler bag and taken to a picnic. Now if only the sun would come back again….
Fruity farro salad with lemon chicken
So what if it’s only April. As far as I’m concerned 74° F outside is a good enough excuse to start eating like it’s summer! Try mixing up the grains, use beef, pork , shrimp or scallops instead of chicken and mix and match your veg.
Diet Facts: Summer on a plate
For the farro
85g/1/2 cup farro
1 tsp oil
500ml/2 cups water
For the salad
450g/ 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
drizzle olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 small grapefruit, peeled and segmented (excess juice reserved)
1/2 a medium sized English cucumber, peeled seeded and chopped
140g/5oz blanched and chopped asparagus
1/3 fennel bulb, outer layer removed and finely sliced on a mandolin
1 small red onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced on a mandolin
100g/4 oz strawberries, hulled and sliced
30g/ 1/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
4 handfuls of baby rocket (arugula)
For the dressing
3 Tbsp juice from the grapefruit
2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch chilli flakes
1/ Cook the farro. Heat the oil in a medium small saucepan and then add the farro. Stir to coat in the oil and let then let toast, for about a minute, or until you can smell it toasting, stir occasionally. Add the water the to pan and cook for about 15 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.
2/ For the salad, heat a drizzle of oil in a frying. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and stir fry for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through. At the last minute add the lemon juice to the pan to deglaze. Toss everything together with the farro in a large bowl.
3/ For the dressing, 3 Tbsp of your reserved grapefruit juice with 2 Tbsp of good olive oil and a pinch of chilli flakes. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix into the salad and serve immediately.