Farro with porkbelly ,goat cheese and roasted beets.

I love making salads,I know it might sound a bit odd but I do. i think you can do a lot with a lot of different ingredients and make it look and taste amazing. A lot of chefs will play the jock and say I only work the saucier or entremetier as in hot side of the kitchen, cold side (gardemanger)no way. In gardemanger you can set the tone for the entire meal and that station is usually the one that sends out lagniappes to start a meal ,usually the first course come from that station as well and means salads cold apps and sweet endings to a meal. It is a very hard station to work because attention to detail and the organizational skills gets put to to the test every service period. You can only do one thing at the time whereas on the hot side you can multitask a bit more.
Anyway this salad i made here has some really nice flavors and textures. Farro was so in vogue a few years back that every celebrity chef was using it and every restaurant worth its salt had it on their menu…then it got quiet,it never went away but just faded a bit as food fashion changed. The thing is though that farro almost cooks the same as barley almost has the same texture and both of them have been around for thousands of years and been a staple in human diet for a very long time. Hard not to appreciate that and try to bring it back to the forefront where they both deserve to be and farro more than anything needs more attention because of all its health benefits and so on and so on. I like it because it is a great tasting versatile grain to work with…simple as that.
This salad has a few labour intensive moments but an easy assemble . Start by procuring a berkshire pork belly..biggest and nicest there is. Hard not to like pork belly!!!. Once you get the raw pork belly home rub it it down with a chili powder ,salt and sugar mixture(10 %45 %45%) and let it cure over night ,next day gently rub of the curing mix and roast in a 300f oven under some weights to make sure it keeps its shape and gets a bit more compact, once cooked all the way thru remove from oven and let cool.
Peel some yellow and red baby beets and rub down with salt and olive oil ,roast them in 350f oven for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven once they are soft all the way thru. Let cool.
Dice a few shallots really fine and sweat of in a pot with olive oil with out adding color then add the farro and coat with the shallots and oil , deglace with some white wine . Here you will not find me saying you should use a chardonnay or chablis because of ….nah in reality it would be very very hard for you and me to tell the difference and where the acidity came from, just use some white table wine and it will be just fine. Continue stirring until almost all the wine has evaporated then add chicken stock to cover and simmer until grains are a little bit more than al dente,about 20 25 minutes. Once cooked drain them on to a sheet pan and let cool. Cut the pork belly into four equal squares and refrigerate what you dont need or freeze for using later. Cut the belly into slices and use three or so per serving or more if you like. I usually end up eating a few any way bfore they are on the salad!!!. Warm the slices of pork belly in a pan and cook until they are as crispy as you like. In a bowl add farro,roasted and quartered beets some spinach leaves and season with salt ,pepper lemon juice and olive oil place this mixture in the middle of a plate and add your pork belly. this is the best part …finish with some locally sourced goat cheese and to please the eye if you have some frisee at home garnish with a few sprigs of that. This salad will not let you down and will be a base to make more and many different variations of. Farro has been around for a long long time and I hope that this salad will to.!

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