October 21, 2010
Jill has taken to calling farro “the ancient grain of the ancients.” Quinoa, which we’ve also come to enjoy as a pasta and rice alternative, is known in our house as “the ancient Incan grain of the Incas.”
There’s this thing I like to do; I like to go through people’s wallets. Not in order to take anything, of course, and not without their permission, but I take great pleasure in unpacking the business cards and receipts, membership notices and frequent buyer cards, pieces of plastic, movie ticket stubs, and general detritus of everyday life.
If I were to unpack my relationships in the same way, what might I find scattered across the coffee table? Long dinners shared, favorite books in common, nicknames, emails, hazy memories of piquant nights, crisp remembrance of things they said that I loved hearing.
But probably most of what I’d find, and incidentally what I value the most, are the pennies-and-lint equivalents like “ancient grain of the ancients.” The goofy, we-don’t-know-where-that-came-from particularities of a love or friendship. The little, inexplicable things that accumulate as we walk through life with another, witnessing them and having them witness us.
FARRO, FENNEL, & TUNA SALAD
adapted from Food & Wine, October 2010
1 cup farro
3 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
2 large carrots, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans tuna of your choice
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 ½ cups arugula
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
Bring the broth and farro to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the farro is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, then add the carrot and garlic and cook until just softened, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir into the farro.
To the farro mixture, add the tuna, chickpeas, fennel, & onion. Squeeze in the lemon juice & season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, garnish with arugula.