I was invited to a dinner party of a foodie friend of mine who was planning to pull out some David Tanis dishes, from "Platter of Figs". She asked that I whip up his summer squash and squash blossom sumthin sumthin and I agreed. As the day progressed, I was faced with a dilemma - shop for said dish or take a nap. Nuff said, right? So I peeked in the fridge to see what I could conjur. My Eatwell Farms CSA box has been dumping some major green beanage on me lately. Three pounds in three weeks. I was thinking I was going to have to pawn some, freeze some or compost some. But, lo, I hatched a plan.
Foraging my cupboards I found the remnants of a pack of Farro, a cup or so. To that I added some lovely Parmigiano Reggiano and the last of my Eatwell pastured eggs for the week. Viola - this could work. Actually, what happened was that my peeps were full of praise for this last minute ensemble. So much so, that it became post worthy. My head is still inflated from their kudos (or maybe that's just the natural state, both literally and figuratively).
I do have the admit that the elements make a lot of sense. Green beans bring a heap of veggie flavor which balance nicely with the nuttiness of the farro and the creamy, yet tart parmigiano. The eggs were really just for show, but played well without getting lost (I counted at least one convert to the pastured egg, right Jodi?). Simple dressing keeps the elements together without overpowering. Our host commented that she loved how you could taste every element on it's own, but they went well together. Here's how it's done.
Boil a large pot of ever-so-salty water (you're gonna start to learn that you really need to salt your water well in most dishes if you're ever gonna get serious here people - I keep a large box of kosher salt for this purpose). Snap the ends off the beans and toss them in the boiling water for a couple of minutes. They should still have some snap to them, but have softened a little - it's called blanching, yo! Pull them out and put them in a bath of ice water pronto. This will stop the cooking and put a monster green hue. Let them chill completely and then wrap them in paper towels and stick them in the fridge.
Make boiled eggs. A trick I recently learned is to put them in the cold water, bring it to a boil and then cover them off the flames for 10 minutes. Roll them around to crack the shells and put them in an ice water bath till ready to peel. Boil salty water for the faro. It cooks just like pasta. When it is al dente strain it and put it in the fridge or freezer to cool off.
Cut the dried beans in half and add to a serving bowl. Add the faro. Zest a lemon on top and then add the juice of a half of the lemon. Drizzle fruity olive oil (the good stuff) and generously salt and pepper. Use a vegetable peeler and scrape small pieces of the parmigiano into the mix. I think this is important. If you grate the cheese, it will not give you the pungent pop of a small slice. Not too big, but enough to hit back, like the size of your pinky. Toss it all together and place the eggs on top for contrast.
This went really well with our host's grilled halibut with a mango salsa.