After the intense grilled cheese sandwich I ate for lunch yesterday, I figured I would give my body a little present by filling it with the fruits and vegetables it has been calling out to me for. After browsing through a bunch of different seasonal salad recipes on FoodBuzz, I decided to stick with ingredients I mainly had at home, and that’s how this winter-fruit salad came about. I should tell you that after I took a few bites of this salad, my eyes widened and I said to myself out loud, “this might be the best salad you’ve ever made Ash!” Truthfully I don’t know if that statement is true or if I was just really hungry after my run this morning.
Either way this salad definitely hits the spot and gives you so many textures to enjoy: creamy avocado slices, crunchy pomegranate seeds, silky persimmon strands and of course the very unique texture provided by farro. If you’re particularly drawn to pomegranate seeds, I recommend checking out this beautiful Arabic Salad recipe which includes another favorite ingredient of mine, pomegranate molasses. Don’t know what a persimmon is? Neither did I a few years ago, but after trying a ripe one with my mom one winter I quickly became hooked. Here’s a photo of what they look like:
So listen, I need to tell you something else that is very important about persimmons: please don’t ever eat one that isn’t ripe, because then you will never want to eat one ever again. They don’t just taste bad unripe, they taste bitter, mealy, furry, and just about everything that a food in your mouth should never taste like. However, once ripened they turn into a sweet and precious delicacy with a taste similar to apricots and the texture of a ripe and juicy peach that runs all over your hands and onto the gravel. Ahhh summer…but I digress. You know persimmons are ripe when you push into the skin, and the meaty fruit concealed behind it is soft and mushy.
Now onto farro: farro reminds me of quinoa, in that it seems to have only recently become trendy in all types of recipes. Five years ago I don’t think anyone was doing much of anything with either of these grains (please correct me if you think I’m wrong)! I won’t get into the nutritional benefits of either, for the simple reason that I don’t know them. But I will tell you that farro has a sensational bite to it that leaves it just shy of crunchy, and that it exudes a naturally nutty flavor which is difficult not to love. This recipe calls for 1/2-cup cooked farro, which I believe is about 1/4-cup uncooked. You could certainly cook a large batch according to the package instructions, and save whatever you don’t use (it will keep in the fridge for a week or two). I’ve included a photo of both uncooked and cooked farro so you can familiarize yourself with it.
Ok I’ve rambled for long enough. And you thought I was done, didn’t you? But I’m actually not, because I can’t let you read this recipe without reminding you that you’re going to have one half of an avocado leftover. You can do what I did, which is sprinkle it with lemon juice (of which you should have some leftover as well) and store it in an airtight container in the fridge, which should last for a day or two. Or you could serve it alongside the salad, sprinkled with lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper.
As always, please make sure to make this salad your own, using any ingredients you have on hand instead of what I suggest – that’s the best part of cooking, and it’s what makes every meal of yours uniquely yours and lovely.
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2-cup cooked farro
2 cups greens, such as watercress and/or spinach
1 very ripe persimmon, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
1. In a small bowl combine vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk in olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. In another bowl mix the farro with half of the dressing. Set on a plate.
3. Cut avocado in half and cut one of the halves into long and thin slices. Scoop out with a spoon and place in same bowl used for farro. Add greens, persimmon pieces, pomegranate seeds, and remaining dressing. Toss to combine, serve over farro.