Dinner for 4 AND Lunch the Next day
Healthy eating isn’t as difficult as it is made out, its a test to retrain our palettes sometimes, but the adventure of cooking and tasting, creating new flavours with new ingredients is always deeply satisfying..
I have started looking for some staple great nutritional base foods and developing recipes from them ( also converting some more traditional ones into healthy options)…….
Today is FARRO
What is farro? Well on researching this I have come across some very different descriptions some contradictory and some similar so I have gone with the most common and also most researched. One of the huge benefits is that
1. It can be used for sweet or savoury dish, hugely versatile
2. Super quick meals can be created
3. It has a great flavour (and you can flavour the stock its cooked in to add even more depth of flavour)
So a little about the grain
- grown in Italy: farro piccolo, farro medio and farro grande and its commonly known as emmer wheat, an old strain of hard wheat
- confused with spelt due to their similar taste and texture,
- farro comes inperlato (pearled) and semi-perlato (semi-pearled)
- without any soaking, it cooks up fast, in about 25 minutes
- farro pasta is also available and again is quick and has a really lovely taste and texture (also a rougher feeling so absorbs and picks up sauces perfectly)
- Farrotto—is the farro cooked as per risotto- cook in tsp butter (or tsp coconut oil) then slowly adding stock
- The science bit its a complex carbohydrates high in cyanogenic glucosides super for the immune system, regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and high in oxidants
Now those that read my recipes know that I love one that can be personalised and has a versatility that gives you confidence in the kitchen..this is one of those recipes.
This truly is a versatile recipe with all components and the farro being the base for all your personalisations. This recipe is for 4 healthy appetites and also for a lunch to take to work or have after training.
Saucepan and a frying pan
Knives for chopping your vegetables
400g Farro (I used semi pearled) as they are quicker to cook and also seem to be the most common to buy )
1x Red Onion (I use red as its got more flavour but white will do) chopped finely
Vegetables of your choice I used mini vegetables for their quick cooking but small chopped veg would work absolutely fine –
I used 8 mini courgettes whole chopped in half lengthways , 150g Chantenay carrots chopped in half –
20 pea pods podded – keep the pead pods to add flavour and then remopve before serving a great way of using small amount of veg and making the most of it
Fish of our choice I used Organic WIld Salmon ( more expensive but hugely better flavour, although the strict farming rules for fish does make it ok to buy farmed fish too). if choosing a different fish make sure its a thick cut, skin on )
Fresh Herbs ( Tarragon, Dill, Thai Basil, Coriander )
Fresh Lemon grated and sliced
You could use any vegetables sweet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts really any veg that you may have.
- Prepare the Fish as simply as possible you want the flavour of the fish to be prevalent-
- Take out a piece of greaseproof longer then your fish piece by 5-10cm either side
- Lay your greaseproof on your baking sheet, and put your choice of herbs in the middle of the paper with a few slices of lemon, also a few pieces of your chopped vegetables, season.
- Place your fish over the top so its sat on the herbs and vegetables, season well lots of salt and pepper
- Fold up the longest sides and then seal the edges so you now have an envelope (En Papillote is made)
- Place this in the oven 180° for 15-20 mins
- Now make the vegetables and Farro base
- Pop 1/2 stock cube in 300ml of water ( if you don’t want the stock cube add a bouquet garni (a bunch of tied herbs -make sure tied together so you can remove as a whole, or add the pea pods all add flavour ) Allow to boil
- Put in the Farro and season and let boil for 15 minutes then simmer for last 10-12 minutes, it will absorb the water/stock, so keep checking it, it does need about 25 minutes to cook so check;add extra water if required , check by squeezing a grain and it should break easily and be soft to bite (NOT soggy)
- In your frying pan ,you can dry fry, ( or add a little rapeseed oil, spray or pour onto a kitchen towel and wipe around the pan son you use a limited amount but get the benefit of the flavour and non stick)- put in the red onion and let it cook to soften and colour )( this will also caramelise it adding flavour)- take about 5-7 minutes
- Check you fish is cooked through ( maximum of 15-20minutes) – be careful when opening you en papillote as it will let out steam- should be firm and springy to touch, keep it covered in the parcel and set aside
- Add all your chopped/mini vegetables and cook for another 10 minutes till al’dente – soft but with a bite to it
- Now get ready to plate its that easy- plate your farro on the bottom of our pate, your onion/veg mix on top and place a piece of the fish on top – delicious
The leftovers are superb for lunch – allow to cool completely mix all together and pop into a lunch-box, a delicious treat.
Again the adaptability of this recipe is superb
- adding a sauce -I have used my Ludo Sauce which is superb with fish
- adding and using the herbs and spices, flavour your fish, the vegetables add heat, add curry flavours it truly is endless
Enjoy and let me know your personalisations we can post them all