Right off Rustichella D'Abruzzo's Whole Farro Cereal Grain package reads, "Farro is recognized as the first cereal grain to enter the human alimentation and dates back to the Latin period. The poet Virgilio even mentions it in the Georgics" (Book 1, Verse 73) referring to it as the "blond farro". It is a very rustic and hardy plant and so does not necessitate the use of either chemical fertilizer or pesticide treatments. Farro is a grain which is strongly coated with gluten, so to obtain a flour further stone milling and cleaning with fresh air ventilation is required." Sounds good to me.
My brain is in whole food finding mode, after just finishing Michal Pollan's In Defense of Food and this grain is the perfect way to get on track to eating "real" food, as opposed to processed "food-like substances" as described in the book. Farro agrees with all of the rules for defining food. It is something my great great grandmother would recognize as a food, it does not contain ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, more than five in number and it does not contain high fructose corn syrup. Last the packaging makes no health claims. Another score is that it was not treated with pesticide or herbicide.
And farro tastes fantastic, so nutty and gooey, and delicious prepared like a wild rice salad. Just go crazy and throw whatever fresh herbs and veggies you have around. And enjoy it while you are reading In Defense of Food. What? You haven't read it yet? Eat your farro then go to the library and get it. Its a super must read!
HERB & FARRO SALAD
1 lb. Farro cereal
2 big shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1 yellow (or any color) pepper
1 C. grape tomatoes cut in half
chopped fresh parsley
chopped fresh mint
chopped fresh fennel fronds
chopped fresh basil
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. walnuts (or any nuts, pignola would be great!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Follow the directions on the package to cook the farro. First you soak it in cold water for about an hour. Then rinse it and put it into a pot and pour in just enough water to cover it. Add salt and olive oil. Bring it to a boil then simmer for about a half an hour uncovered until its soft and all the liquid is absorbed.
While the farro is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients. Roughly chop the veggies and herbs and put everything together in the bottom of a bowl. Then pour the warm farro over it so all the flavors steam together. Zest an entire lemon on top and season with salt, pepper, lots of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, to taste. Enjoy warm or cold.