If there’s one thing I can’t live without it’s salad. I eat salad almost every day of my life, including in the wintertime. I know many may think that living in Los Angeles where the weather is always warm often dictates meals of salad, but believe it or not there are some days when it does get chilly, and I still crave it. There is something about creating a salad that’s loaded with different textures and flavors that I truly enjoy, and this salad set most apart when it comes to a mixture of tangy, sweet, bitter, chewy and nuttiness all tossed into one. It starts with farro, a nutty ancient grain that I hope most of you are, or will get familiar with. It’s the easiest thing to boil up and store in a big container in your refrigerator, and use whenever you choose, like for this recipe. It has some of the best chew I’ve ever experienced, better than oatmeal or brown rice, and it’s so versatile too. You can add it to soups and stews, and of course salad, which is why I’m highly encouraging you to cook up a batch.
Citrus season is here, and when I was up in Santa Ynez this past week, my citrus trees suddenly became ripe and ready for picking when I got back, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Tangerines are another favorite of mine and I like to peel them, just like I would if I was going to eat one fresh from the tree, but slice them horizontally, so you get a full circle of all the segments and membranes in one full view. I also happen to have had some fresh arugula ready to cut in my garden, and a couple handfuls of leafy greens that were patiently waiting, so I clipped and tucked them gently into my rubber bucket along with the fruit, and brought them up to make this wonderful salad.
So, I had tangerines, leafy greens, and some of that cooked farro waiting for me and there was just one more thing to make, and that was a killer vinaigrette to drizzle over top. Tahini paste is an item I most often have in my refrigerator, so I grabbed that too. I whisked the tahini with a tablespoon of warm water to loosen it a bit first, then added a small glug of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a splash of white wine vinegar. After whisking until it was creamy smooth, I knew it was ready to drizzle over this most gorgeous winter salad. I served the rest alongside, just in case someone wanted more.
1 1/2 cups farro
1/2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
4 small tangerines
5 cups leafy greens, any variety
2 tablespoons tahini paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
big pinch of salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, or other white vinegar
- Boil 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan, add farro and bouillon cube, stir. Turn heat to low and place lid ajar over top. Cook for 20 minutes, remove lid and cook until most of liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Pour into bowl to cool. Either use immediately or store in refrigerator covered until ready to use.
- Peel tangerines and cut horizontally, set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons warm water until smooth. Add olive oil, salt and vinegar, whisk until creamy. Set aside.
- Add lettuce to a large bowl, or individual plates and sprinkle with cooked farro (you may have some leftover for another use). Top with sliced tangerines.
- Drizzle tahini vinaigrette over top. Serve immediately. Enjoy!