Those of you with children probably remember reading lots of articles and books offering parenting advice. Do you remember the suggestion about managing the childrens’ toys? You know, the one about “rotating” the toys by hiding some of them and then re-introducing them to the children at a later date? The theory was that these toys would seem like new to the unsuspecting tots and would keep their demands for visits to the toy store to a minimum. I was never organized enough to maintain a “toy rotation”. And I’m pretty sure that my threesome would have found those hidden toys with the same stealth and sense of purpose that enabled them to discover the Christmas gifts every year. But this method works well for me now; I use it for my cookbooks. Hundreds of cookbooks are stored in our house in almost every room, as well as the basement and garage. Every now and again I go through the bookshelves and the boxes and take books out, replacing them with the ones I haven’t used in a while. I often get ideas and inspiration from reading an old favorite or I come upon a recipe that I hadn’t previously given a second look. This week I’ve rediscovered “Plenty”, Yotam Ottolenghi’s wonderful vegetarian cookbook. I was looking for ideas for Thanksgiving side dishes when I noticed this simple salad. It’s quick and easy to make, and with its fresh green herbs and pomegranate seeds it looks quite festive. The original recipe uses barley, but I had farro, which I love, so that’s what I used. This is my new favorite salad and as the author states, “I can almost promise that it is going to become a daily affair!” I won’t be “rotating” this book out anytime soon.
Farro and Pomegranate Salad
1 cup of farro (or pearl barley)
6 celery stalks (leaves picked and reserved), cut into small dice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
2/3 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
seeds from 2 large pomegranates
Place the farro (or barley) in a medium saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh water. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender but still with a bite. Drain the farro and transfer to a mixing bowl. While it is still hot, add the celery, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice, and some salt and pepper. Stir, then leave to cool down completely. Once cool, add the herbs, celery leaves, and pomegranate seeds and mix in. Taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking, then serve.
(from “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi)