By way of a recommendation from a food-minded friend, I was lucky enough to visit the restaurant Ned Ludd on a recent trip to Portland. Defining itself as "an American craft kitchen", Ned Ludd has all of the charm and menu items you'd expect in a Pacific Northwest restaurant with a photo of an axe in the woods on their homepage. Various pickled things, roasted brassicas, and charcuterie definitely make an appearance, as does other "good food that tells a story". Apart from delectable dishes including their delicious grilled flat bread served with olive oil (salivating just thinking about the doughy goodness), another menu item that I recall is one that we actually didn't order - a whole grain salad with a bunch of different chopped ingredients reminiscent of autumn. I specifically made a mental note to take the inspired ingredient combination of farro, arugula, asian pear, celery, toasted hazelnuts, and chevré, and try it at home. While I'm not sure if this is exactly like what they served, as again, we didn't order it, the salad was unique and delicious so I consider it an inspired-recipe win!
The fall is fading fast, but it's not too late to make use of the harvest with this salad. Also, farro is technically considered an "ancient grain" (a grain that is loosely defined as not having changed much over the last several hundred years), which is fun from a culinary sustainability standpoint and a stellar grain to have in your toolbelt. Below is an approximation (feel free to add more or less of whatever you have on hand!) and serves 4.
- 1 cup cooked farro*
- 2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 asian pear, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 cups arugula
- About 1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevré), crumbled
- 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts**
- Arugula or other edible flowers for garnish (completely optional, I just happened to have arugula and flowers growing in my raised bed)
- Toss farro with celery, pear, and arugula. Salt to taste.
- Put lemon juice, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt in a small mason jar. Shake until combined then toss into farro mixture followed by goat cheese and hazelnuts, reserving a few to add to top.
- Garnish with edible flowers (optional) and serve immediately.
*There are many ways to cook farro, but I usually just use 1 part farro to 2 parts liquid (water in this case), bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30-40 minutes until farro is "al dente" (because I like it kind of firm), but soft enough to chew. In this instance, about 1/3 cup farro + 1 cup water will yield about 1 cup cooked farro. Some recipes call for cooking farro like pasta, but I feel that is an unnecessary waste of water.
**To toast hazelnuts, heat in a cast iron pan on medium-high until browned, tossing frequently, about 2 minutes and sprinkle with salt. A small amount of oil can be added to the pan and tossed with the nuts if you'd prefer a richer toasted nut.