Food & Drinks, home

La Dolce Vita: 4 Inspired Recipes From Farro

Authentic Italian staples get a luscious update at Farro.
Elsa Young

Farro, the latest culinary addition to the thriving food scene in Johannesburg’s Illovo offers up authentic Italian staples that have recived a luscious update. Here are four recipes from our November #MyLuxuries Issue to create at home. 

Cured Salmon with Dill Cucumber and Saffron Aïoli

For the salmon

  • 300g good-quality salt
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 500g fresh, whole salmon fillets, skinned

For the saffron aïoli and dill cucumber

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1T Dijon mustard
  • 1.5T white-wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 500ml sunflower oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1T salt
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped

Method 

To cure the salmon, mix the salt with the sugar. Cover the bottom of a plastic container with a layer of the curing mixture. (Avoid using metal: the curing mixture and metal can react, creating a metallic flavour.) Generously cover the salmon with the curing mixture and place in the container, adding more to bury the fish. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for 24 hours. Turn the salmon and allow it to cure for another 24 hours.

Remove the cured fish from the fridge and rinse under cold running water to remove any remaining salt/sugar, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Wrap the salmon tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for another 24 hours to allow the cure to settle. In a round-bottomed bowl, make the aïoli by whisking the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, garlic and saffron.

Slowly pour in the oil while whisking. Once the aïoli has thickened, add salt to taste. Using a mandolin, slice the cucumber as thinly as possible and sprinkle 1T of salt over it, mixing well to ensure each slice is salted. Set aside for 30 minutes: the salt will draw out excess water from the cucumber. Wash under cold water and drain in a sieve for an hour.

Mix the chopped dill with the cucumber slices. Cut the salmon into thick slices and plate. Pile the dill cucumber alongside, add a large dollop of saffron aïoli and serve immediately. 

SERVES 4

Trout in a Cream Sauce with Gnocchi, Lettuce and Peas

For the gnocchi

  • 500g whole potatoes, skin on
  • 45g ‘00’ flour
  • ½ whisked, large egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the trout, cream sauce, and lettuce

  • 1 whole trout (1kg), filleted and pin-boned
  • 500ml cream 2 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 100g fresh peas
  • A good pinch of chopped, fresh parsley
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Butter, for frying
  • 2 baby gem lettuces, halved

Method 

Preheat the oven to 170°C. To make the gnocchi, roast the potatoes in the oven for 90 minutes until soft, then remove and cut them open to release the steam for a few minutes. Scoop out the flesh, push it through a potato ricer and allow to cool. Add the flour, egg, salt and pepper, and mix until a dough is formed. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough into a long sausage and cut into pieces, each about 3cm wide. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, drop the gnocchi in a few at a time, and cook until they float, then remove from the pot. Cool the gnocchi in ice water and, once cool, remove from the water and dry on some kitchen towel. Set aside for later use. Place the trout bones in a deep pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Remove the bones, place the pan back on the heat and reduce the volume by three quarters. Once reduced, add the cream, bring to the boil again, and simmer for eight minutes. Add the shallots, peas, parsley and lemon juice to the cream sauce and simmer for about a minute, but be careful not to allow the peas to become soft. In the meantime, warm a frying pan, add a little butter and fry the lettuce halves, cut side down, until golden.

Place the trout fillets and lettuce halves in a steamer and cook for about six minutes until the trout is just done. To finish, brown the gnocchi in a frying pan with butter, turning once, until a golden crust has formed. Arrange the gnocchi in the middle of each plate. Place the trout pieces and lettuce halves on the gnocchi and spoon the cream sauce over them just before serving.

SERVES 4

Mozzarella and Courgettes with Fried Soda Bread

For the soda bread

  • 125g wholemeal bread flour
  • 65g white bread flour
  • 110g oats
  • 1t salt
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t bicarbonate of soda
  • 25g molasses
  • 1T yoghurt
  • A little milk
  • Butter, for frying

For the mozzarella and courgettes

  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 baby courgettes, finely sliced
  • A pinch of fresh, chopped mint
  • A good handful of fresh pea shoots
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Combine all the ingredients for the soda bread in a bowl except the yoghurt and milk, and mix well. Add the yoghurt and enough milk to form a dough. Using your fingers, mould the dough into a round shape and press it down to form a fat disc shape. Cut across it on the top to allow for expansion while baking. On a floured baking tray, place the dough in the oven, then reduce the heat to 150°C and bake for 40 minutes. Turn the loaf over and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool.

Chop the loaf into small pieces and fry over medium heat in lots of butter until dark and crisp. Remove the fried bread and tip onto kitchen paper to cool. To plate, tear the mozzarella ball in half and then tear each half into four pieces; divide them among four plates. In a bowl, mix the courgettes with a pinch of chopped mint, the pea shoots, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Arrange the courgette mixture over the mozzarella, sprinkle the fried soda bread on top and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

SERVES 4

Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Beetroot and Walnuts

For the brownies

  • 185g dark chocolate
  • 145g butter
  • 210g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 80g dates, chopped
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 55g cake flour

For the salted caramel ice cream

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175ml cream
  • 1T sea salt
  • 350ml milk
  • 150ml cream
  • 75g Trimoline (invert sugar) 5
  • large egg yolks

For the beetroot and walnuts

  • 1kg fresh beetroot, peeled
  • 130g granulated sugar
  • 60ml red-wine vinegar
  • 1t salt
  • 50g walnuts, toasted
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2T extra virgin olive oil

Method 

Preheat the oven to 150°C. To make the brownies, melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water. Then add the caster sugar and remove from the heat. Whisk in the eggs and keep whisking until the mixture has a high gloss. Fold in the dry ingredients and pour onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes at 150°C, then increase the heat to 180°C and bake for 10 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares. For the ice cream, first make the caramel by slowly heating 125g caster sugar in a pan until golden brown.

Remove from the heat and gradually add the cream while stirring. Return to the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the sea salt and allow the caramel to cool completely. Mix the milk, cream and Trimoline, place in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. At the same time, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 50g castor sugar until pale and fluffy. When the cream mixture reaches boiling point, remove from the heat, pour it over the egg mixture and whisk together.

Return to a low heat and slowly mix in a figure of eight with a spoon until thickened and the back of the spoon is coated. Cool over a bowl of ice water. Once cool, swirl in the caramel. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the machine instructions. Make a beetroot molasses by grating the beetroot and squeezing out the juice.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 50°C. Spread the beetroot solids on a baking tray and dry in the oven overnight. In a pan, bring the beetroot juice, 100g granulated sugar, vinegar and salt to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the volume has reduced by three quarters. Allow to cool completely. Process the dried beetroot to a powder, add the walnuts and blitz.

Mix with the remaining 30g sugar and salt, and rub in the oil (as per the shortening method). To plate, spoon some beetroot and walnut crumble onto the middle of each plate, place a slightly warmed brownie piece on top and a generous scoop of ice cream alongside. Drizzle the beetroot molasses over each portion before serving.

SERVES 4

For more inspired recipes from Farro, pick up a copy of our November #MyLuxuries Issue.