Roasted Beet and Farro Salad

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I got karma-ed big time this morning.  Big.  Time.

See, last night I did an evil thing that I normally don’t do.  I saw a spider scurrying across the kitchen floor (not that this happens often), and, well…  It was moving too quickly for me to do my usual hippie-dippy thing with a sheet of paper and gentle release back into the outdoors.  This bad boy (or girl) had places to be, things to do.  So.  I think you can figure out what I did.

This morning, I was up way too early, and as I groggily made my way into the kitchen in the dark, my sock found itself, all of a sudden, cold and wet and covered with bubbly foam.  In the very same spot where my spider friend met its maker, which was actually the first thought in my sleepy, guilty brain.

Coincidence?  Doubt it.

You got me, spider….  And you have CostCo to thank for packaging dishwashER liquid and dishwashING liquid in a way-too-similar manner.  Universe, karma, CostCo–all working together on your eight-legged behalf.  I salute you, and hope all is well on the other side.

If you were human, I’d make you a nice salad…  But I also wouldn’t murder you (swearsies).  I hope dedicating this post to you is enough.

Anyway, salad.

This salad comes from Tom Colicchio’s wonderful Craft cookbook.  What I love about the approach it takes–as seen in many dishes throughout the book–is that a simple ingredient is celebrated to its fullest extent.  Many simple dishes, often served in sauces made of whatever the main component is; in this case, it’s a beet salad served with a bright pink, tangy vinaigrette made with pureed beets.  It’s an ultimate tribute to this sweet, earthy root vegetable.

It’s a beet lover’s dream come true, and I love beets.  They’re roasted, patiently and tenderly.

A basic vinaigrette starts with shallots…  And ends in a blender with–you guessed it, beets.

Serving this over farro makes it dinner, although you could certainly skip that part and serve it as a side.  Lovely, no?  (Note that golden beets–and probably chioggias too, I can’t remember–will oxidize and turn dark eventually.  If you plan to have leftovers, use classic red beets, or toss them in a bit of lemon juice.)

Oh, and it’s vegan.  That’s good karma for all you spider-killers out there.

Roasted Beet and Farro Salad
(adapted from Craft of Cooking

1 cup farro
3 1/2 cups water
Pinch of salt

3-4 medium beets (classic red works, but chioggia and golden beets are striking)
1-2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For vinaigrette:
1/2 cup plus a tablespoon olive oil
1 small or 1/2 large shallot, peeled and sliced 
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup peeled chopped roasted beet
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine farro, water and salt in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until farro is tender (about the texture of al dente pasta) and most of the liquid is absorbed.  Drain if necessary and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Trim the beets and wash them well, then coat with 2 tablespoons or so of olive or grapeseed oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Line a baking dish with aluminum foil, place the beets on it, then cover with more foil.  Roast until the beets can easily be pierced with a knife–depending on your oven and size of the beets, this might take a couple of hours.  Cool the beets.

The above steps can be done ahead of time.

Peel the beets, and coarsely chop about half of one–you’ll need roughly 1/4 cup for the beet vinaigrette.

To make vinaigrette, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, add the shallot, and saute gently until soft and translucent, then transfer to a blender.  Add the chopped beets, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, then blend to puree.  With the blender running, gradually add the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a steady stream.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if you’d like.

Slice or quarter the rest of the beets, arrange them on plates over cooked farro, and drizzle with the vinaigrette to serve.  Serves 3-4.

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  1. says

    Sounds delicious! I need to try this….Note to self: find Craft of Cooking cookbook. And wonder if chioggias are available within a 30-mile radius.

    • Danguole says

      I couldn’t find them, but goldens are plentiful around here! The lengths we go to for pretty food…

  2. says

    This looks delicious… great way to use beets and the vinaigrette sounds delicious! I use golden beets quite often, I’m not sure if I have come across a chioggia, I will have to look for that one.

  3. says

    Gorgeous photos, as usual!

    I’m sorry about your karma incident. I usually do the same thing you do with spiders (I even trap flies and set them free outside, too!), but maybe one out of every thirty spiders presents some special situation where it can’t be helped, and then I always feel so bad…