Welcome to “A Red Binder”. This is my new food blog site, designed by the talented duo from “Wooden Spoons Kitchen”, Erin and Melissa. It has been so exciting working with these two creative young women. This is the site I had always envisioned; it’s about combining my culinary roots with my love for modern cuisine. Read about the name and the concept in the “About Me” section. Now I’m going to start filling the pages of my Red Binder. I hope you’ll follow along…
Finally, it’s tomato season here! This is the moment that every tomato-loving gardener waits for: the first ripe tomato, still warm from the vine. I guess I got my fondness for tomatoes from my father. He was an avid gardener and he gave the tomato plants a lot of extra special, tender, loving care. He taught me to plant marigolds amongst the tomatoes (to ward off pests) and to prune away the little extra stems that sap the plants of energy. Dad liked to remind me of the time when I, as a toddler, went into the garden and picked all the tomatoes! The only problem was that they were still green! I can appreciate now how disappointed he must of been on that particular day. Whether you have your own garden tomatoes, or supermarket or farmer’s market tomatoes, this salad will showcase them perfectly. It’s in the style of caprese, with lots of fresh basil and burrata in place of mozzarella cheese. And there is substance provided by my current favorite grain, farro.
Because burrata is soft and more fragile than regular fresh mozzarella you may want to add it in just before serving. For a single salad bowl, try layering the farro-tomato mixture with the torn burrata. If you’re plating individual salads, simply scatter the burrata atop each serving. Either way, you want to keep those luscious mouthfuls of cheese intact, so don’t overmix. Here’s the recipe, adapted from the brilliant site: “Happy Yolks”.
Farro Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata
- 3/4 cup farro
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock (homemade is best)
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes , each sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup basil leaves , torn into small pieces or cut in strips
- 1 medium clove garlic , minced
- 1/3 cup pine nuts , toasted
- 6 ounces burrata cheese , torn into bite-size pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the farro, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until the grain is tender but still has some "chew" (cooking time will depend on whether the grain is "pearled"; it can take from 20 to 40 minutes). When done drain any remaining liquid and set aside to cool.
While the farro is cooking, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, basil leaves, garlic, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside to marinated until the farro has cooled.
Combine the cooled farro and pine nuts with the tomato mixture and toss gently. Plate the salad, adding the torn burrata to the bowl and mixing gently. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and the lemon juice.