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.

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

olive oil
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.


  1. I love the comparison you made with farro/quinoa and the “particularities of a love or friendship.” So well-written, Nishta. If I had read those sentences in a novel, I would have underlined them. :) I really like the combo of ingredients here — sounds SO filling and nutritious. I keep seeing fennel in stores here in Paris, and think “I love it, but what could I make with it?” Now I have a great idea! Thank you!

    Comment by Karin (an alien parisienne) — October 22, 2010 @ 1:16 am

  2. Nicknames…they never do make sense . Right, Moe?

    Comment by Jen K — October 22, 2010 @ 6:43 am

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nishta Mehra and Fulmer, Carlos E. Rodriguez. Carlos E. Rodriguez said: RT @BlueJeanGourmet: {new post} farro, fennel, tuna salad & why I like to go through wallets: http://bit.ly/bmiW8k […]

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  4. Love what you have to say about a salad. And love farro! Brilliant.

    Comment by Julie — October 22, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

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