Imagine me huddled over my rickety stove. The Brooklyn breeze is flowing through the windows. My charmingly unshaven boyfriend has just walked into the door, grease on his calf from his fixed gear bike. We hug close and stir farro together. It’s almost time for dinner, sweetie.
Dream on. This summer, my apartment’s so tiny I can stir a pot on the stove while sitting on my bed. I’m in Midtown, with a woman who sticks plastic bags in her clothing and surrounds herself by trash outside my door. Basically, my pad on 9th avenue is just a place to sleep and I’m fine with that. But I’m not over the fact that the kitchen blows and my summer boyfriend has yet to show up.
Here’s a dish explicitly made for getting out of this apartment. It goes straight from the fridge, into some tupperware and goes far, far away. Well, it goes to work.
Get the Recipe.
Tonno and Farro Salad, serves four to five
The Shopping List
+ 1 cup semi-pearled Italian farro*
+ 2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
+ 1 cup celery, sliced
+ 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed
+ 2 pints sweet yellow tomatoes (try Zima)
+ A few 3 oz. cans of quality Italian tuna packed in olive oil (preferably Cento)
*Huh? Farro? These little grains of nutty perfection can be found at quality supermarkets, Italian markets and specialty food stores.
As suggested by resident Italian goddess Melissa deLisser, all things are better when cooked in chicken broth, and that is precisely the case here. The broth imparts an intuitive, light saltiness to the farro, which goes along beautifully with the grain’s elegant, subtle nuttiness. Not only that, there’s no need to season with straight salt this way.
You cook farro a lot like rice (2:1), getting it to a boil and then simmering it altogether on the stove until the broth is completely absorbed by the grains, but still a bit moist. You can leave the lid on while it’s simmering, but it’s worked just fine for me without.
When you scoop it out of the pot, each grain is glowing and golden.
Slice the celery thin so that it’s still crunchy but not too bulky. The celery should be fresh, bright and somewhat salty.
Meanwhile, the farro should be in the fridge, cooling down before adding in the other ingredients.
After just about a half hour of having the farro in the fridge, the only thing left to do is assemble.
Since I’m making this for my work day lunch, I’m just going to throw it into some Tupperware. I could pretend like there’s an exact science to this, but putting this together isn’t about measurement. It’s about preference. I like my tuna and farro salad with a nice helping of farro, a handful of celery and tomatoes, a few cubes of mozzarella and a mini can of tuna that I add in right before eating. Now, this salad can be made all at once for a group, or you can eat it systematically throughout the week. For the tupperware users out there, I think it’s better to make this salad day-by-day rather than having it all together in the fridge for five days. That way, everything’s a bit more crisp.
I cannot say enough good things about this brand of tuna. Since it’s packed in olive oil and high quality, the tuna is moist, salty and a nice rose hue. It’s tender and perfect, so once you use Cento, you don’t go back.
All that’s left before chow time is tossing it altogether.
With a few Tupperwares waiting in the fridge, it’s time to devour the bowl at hand.