This salad has nutty, fruity flavors and contrasting textures. Serve it warm with a pork roast or room temperature as part of a party buffet. The ingredients can be varied by the season. In summer, I'd make it with halved cherry tomatoes, blanched green beans, soft goat cheese, and perhaps a little mint.
Warm Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Persimmons and Pecans
1 1/2 cups faro (soaked to cover in cold water for 6 hours or overnight)
6 cups cold water
1 medium Delicata squash, peeled and diced small (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 tablespoons Fig Balsamic or other sweet fruity vinegar
1 tablespoon good quality apple cider or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pecan halves, lightly toasted
1 Fuyu persimmon, diced small
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
3 ounces crumbled feta
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Drain soaked faro and place in a medium saucepan with the 6 cups of cold water and a little salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, ready all other ingredients. The flavor of this salad is better when it is tossed with the dressing while the farro is still warm.
Toss the squash cubes in a little olive oil and coarse salt and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Roast the squash in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until brown, caramelized and tender, stopping once halfway through to slide a spatula under the squash and flip it gently and rotate the baking sheet so the squash cooks evenly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and shallots. In a steady, slow stream, whisk in the olive oil until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drain the cooked farro and rinse lightly in cool water, but not enough to cool it completely.
Place the farro in a serving bowl along with cooked squash, pecans, persimmon, parsley and pomegranate seeds (if using). Pour the dressing over and toss. Add the feta and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again gently. Serve over a bed of arugula if desired.