The Ingredients Are Below
Beets: Beets are a naturally hard and tough root vegetable but are surprisingly sweet and tender if cooked properly. I love roasting them on the salt bed because the salt acts as a chemical agent, penetrating the beets and cooking them from the inside out. I like to cook the beets until they are tender but still hold a nice crunch. The best way to figure out if your beet is fully cooked is to insert a paring knife, and if it comes out with little to no resistance, the beet is done. After they are taken out of the oven, allow them to cool slightly, and then use a paring knife to take off the skin. Make sure to do this on a clean cutting board and not drop the skinned beets back into the salt. After the beets are skinned and cubed, place them in a bowl with the vinegar bath.
Farro: Farro is an excellent whole grain. This ancient grain is packed with nutrients and has a slightly nutty flavor when cooked. It contains a significant amount of protein, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B, and fiber.
Stock: I like to cook the farro in stock instead of water give the ancient grain the maximum amount of flavor and depth. I chose to use chicken stock in the recipe, but a vegetable stock will work if you want to keep the dish vegetarian. The farro wonderfully absorbs the stock and adds a perfectly flavorful and hearty addition to the salad.
Sugar: I add just a touch of sugar to the farro to balance out the beets’ acidity and round out the flavors. I think it gives the salad a nice sweet touch that’s not overwhelming.
Olive Oil: Because this is a composed salad, the olive oil gives the farro a nice glossy coating that allows it to lay better on the arugula’s bed and mix in with the other elements. I also drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top of the salad to finish it. Of course, this is entirely optional. A very high-quality olive oil is advised for this recipe, as it is primarily used as a finished agent.
Red Wine Vinegar: The red wine vinegar helps bring out the beet’s natural sweetness after they are roasted. I also love the combination of red wine vinegar with the Parmigiano Reggiano, pine nuts, and the mint.
Pine Nuts: These nuts add an exceptional crunch and toasted finish to the salad. Because farro already has a slightly nutty finish, the pine nuts are a fantastic pairing.
Arugula: I chose arugula for this salad because of its light and peppery bite. I think it beautifully offsets the farro’s heavier side and pairs wonderfully with the roasted beets. The arugula rounds out the whole composition of the salad, making it airy but also satiating.
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano: Long strips of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano are so luxuriously beautiful as the garnish for this salad. Parmigiano is the perfect cheese as it is rich, luxurious, and perfectly nutty to complement all the other components of the salad. You could also choose to grate the cheese, but I think shavings are a better fit because it is a composed salad.
Mint: The mint is added to give the salad an added freshness. Mint and beets are an excellent combination, and this herb makes the salad “pop” a bit and helps to “cut through” the heaviness of the farro.
Kosher Salt: Using a high-quality Kosher salt is an absolute MUST for cooking! It will provide a better final product! As stated above, the salt acts as a “cooking agent,” helping to cook the beets from the inside out.
WHAT IS A COMPOSED SALAD?
- A composed salad is one that you layer or add the components one by one to a vessel.
- This salad is better if all elements are stored separately and then assembled for eating.
- This salad is composed because:
- The beets will “bleed” into all the other elements if everything is tossed together in one large bowl.
- The arugula is so delicate it will be crushed if tossed with the heavier beets and farro.
- The Parmigiano Reggiano is best if the long shavings sit on top of the salad, and they will be crushed if mixed in a bowl.
- The mint is also intended to be a light garnish and rest on top of the salad.
Roasted Beet and Warm Farro Salad
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or tin foil and sprinkle with salt to make one thin layer.
- Wash the beets and place them on top of the salt bed and sprinkle salt on the tops of them as well.
- Place the beets in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes. When you insert a paring knife into your largest beet, they are done, and you have little to no resistance.
- While the beets are cooking, place the stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add the farro and reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and season with salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and the1 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Reserve.
- Peel the beets while they are still hot, and make sure you do not drop them back into the salt bed. Cube the beets and place them in a medium mixing bowl. Discard the salt bed and skins and mix the cubed beets with the red wine vinegar. (Because this is a composed salad, the beets can stay and be stored in the vinegar bath up to one week in the refrigerator).
- To compose the salad: Place arugula bed on a plate or bowl, sprinkle with several spoonfuls of farro. Top with brined beets, toasted pine nuts, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and a few mint springs. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the salad to finish.