Despite a recent drop in the temperature and the smell of wet leaves permeating the air hinting at fall’s impending arrival, I still managed to find some adorable cherry tomatoes in all sizes and colors at the store. In an attempt to cling to every last bit of summer and realizing this might be the last time I can buy fresh summer tomatoes like this I opted to buy the biggest container I could get my hands on. Consequently, I’ve had cherry tomatoes in just about every meal this week. Everything from homemade pizza, my morning omelet, and tuna salad has been graced with these multicolored jewels. With a just couple hand fulls of these beauties left, I decided to make a farro grain salad with grilled eggplant, goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts.
I love a good grain salad and if you haven’t tried farro yet, I encourage you to give it a go. It cooks pretty quick and has a delicious, nutty flavor and chewy texture. The grain pairs nicely with the crunch of the hazelnuts, the sweetness of my cherry tomatoes and the tart goat cheese. The grilled eggplant adds a bit of a smokey element and nice charred flavor. I dressed the salad simply in some lemon juice and olive oil and topped it with a little balsamic and basil (because, summer).
This salad can be served warm or cold and serves 2 by itself or 4 if served alongside another dish.
- 1/2 Cup Farro
- 2 Cups Water
- 1 Eggplant
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Crushed Hazelnuts
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 Oz Goat Cheese
To get started, add half a cup of farro to about 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil then turn down to low and let simmer for about 30 minutes. You can also purchase pearled farro, which has a quicker cooking time.
While the farro simmers, turn the grill on medium and slice an eggplant into half inch circles. In a small bowl, mix olive oil with a dash of cumin, paprika, and salt. Right before placing on the grill, brush the eggplants with the olive oil mixture on one side. You’ll want to do this right before you grill them so the eggplant doesn’t absorb the oil and get soggy. Place the oiled side down on the grill and brush the tops with the rest of the mix. Grill for 4-5 minutes then flip and grill for 3-4 more minutes until the eggplant gets soft.
Bring a small pan up to medium heat. Throw in the hazelnuts and toast them for just a couple minutes until they develop a nutty aroma and get a little brown on the outside.
Slice the tomatoes into halves or quarters and crumble the goat cheese.
To assemble the salad, drain the farro and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. Grab the eggplant off the grill and slice into half inch cubes. Toss the farro with the eggplant and top with the tomatoes, goat cheese and hazelnuts. Optionally add some torn basil and a couple splashes of some good balsamic.