Martha writes: "Farro is a sturdy grain that stands up well to such lusty ingredients as beet greens. The flavor is sweet and nutty, and it contrasts nicely with salty feta or goat cheese. The farro will absorb the color from red beets, giving this salad a pinkish tint. Be sure to cook the farro until tender, or else the salad will be chewy."
RECIPE: Grain Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese
2 medium, roasted; with greens, stemmed and washed in two changes of water
1 cup farro, soaked for one hour in water to cover and drained (other grains may be substituted)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (somewhat less than the original recipe)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese, crumbled (plus more to pass at the table)
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, chives, mint
1. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the greens. Blanch for two minutes, and transfer to the ice water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.
2. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the farro. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring from time to time, or until the farro is tender. Remove from the heat and allow the grains to swell in the cooking water for 10 minutes, then drain.
3. While the farro is cooking, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the vinegars, salt, garlic and mustard. Whisk in the oil(s). Add to the farro. Peel and dice the beets and add, along with the beet greens, feta or goat cheese, herbs and walnuts. Toss together, and serve warm or room temperature with a little more cheese sprinkled over the top if you wish.
Yield: Serves eight
Advance preparation: The roasted beets and cooked beet greens will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator, and the cooked farro for five days. You can assemble this salad hours or even a day ahead; it will redden with time.