American Farro!

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

Out of Egypt, an enterprising pioneer of the Nile first raised up farro about ten thousand years ago, making this type of wheat one of humankind’s earliest cultivated grains. This high protein, high fiber dietary staple helped the formation of civilization itself, comprising a substantial part of the advent of agriculture in the ancient Fertile Crescent. So prized was the grain that Egyptian soldiers used to receive their pay in the form of farro.

We can only assume that American Pharoah, the now historic horse, will be handsomely rewarded with rich grains and a touch of luxury befitting his new Triple Crown title, as well as his regal name. In tribute of this rare accomplishment, I composed a kingly salad, starting with a base of farro and adding in the triple crown of corn, black beans and tomatoes, all of which are foods native to the Americas. This salad comes together fast—though perhaps not as fast as its namesake. Still, the odds favor this farro salad being a real winner.

American Farro

1 cup farro

salt and pepper

1 10-ounce bag frozen corn kernels, or 2 cups fresh corn

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 ounces (1/2 cup) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

½ cup mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley and chives

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add about 2 teaspoons salt, then stir in the farro. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are al dente, about 20-30 minutes depending on the kind of farro. Add the corn to the farro during the last few minutes of cooking. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, mustard and vinegar with a whisk. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until slightly thickened and well combined. Add the drained farro, corn and beans, along with the herbs. Stir well to evenly combine all ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled.