Farro Salad with Figs and Balsamic Vinegar

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Figs on the fig treeIt’s taken three years, but we have finally achieved figs here in South Jersey!

We started with two specialty fig tree twigs the sweetie bought from an ItalianĀ  tree supplier, and two baby trees I bought from Rosie’s Farm Market. But at long last after careful winter wrapping and care, after waiting every year to see if our tress had died back to the roots our would start to establish from their trunks, we finally have a small fig crop this year.

Two days ago I was able to harvest a pair of perfect figs for an after-dinner treat. This morning I was able to harvest seven wonderful figs.

yummy figsOf course, my sweetie also had to see the dentist this afternoon so I needed to make something for dinner that was soft and gentle, and I really wanted him to get to enjoy these perfect fresh figs, so with a little scheming and research I came up with the idea of a farro salad with figs and balsamic vinegar.

This isn’t so much a recipe as an idea. Farro makes a great grain-based salad that you can play with as you wish: balance it with some fresh fruit or tomatoes; add some onion or chives; make sure there’s a little crunch from peppers or perhaps roasted nuts; finish it off with a vinaigrette of your choice and perhaps a crumbly goat cheese if you wish. Since I was serving this with oven-roasted cod steaks in a hearty olive tapenade, I skipped the cheese and just went light and sweet.

I would recommend using the best, aged Balsamic vinegar you have on hand for this recipe. You want something thick and sweet, not cheap and sour like so many supermarket balsamics are. My “go-to” for a use like this is Di Bruno Bros “Bronze” Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar, which is thick and syrupy enough to do the job and works wonderful with fruits in summer salads.

I also used a lovely purple baby sweet bell pepper from Maugeri Farms, as their farm market is my favorite source for beautiful and unusual peppers and tomatoes all summer long. I thought the purple-skinned pepper was a perfect accent to the figs and kept the color uniform throughout.

Farro Salad with Figs and Balsamic Vinegar

Farro Salad with Fresh Figs and Balsamic Vinegar

1 cup Italian farro
4-6 fresh figs, sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 small sweet pepper, thinly sliced
Handful fresh Italian herbs, preferably basil and flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Aged balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt

Combine 1 cup farro with 2.5 cups salted water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain and immediately chill.

Combine the chilled farro with the figs, green onions, sweet pepper and fresh herbs. Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and continue chilling until ready to serve.

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