I play a sad little game with myself when I leave Meg. I watch my flight progress on the video monitor mounted to the back of the seat in front of me for my in-flight viewing entertainment. Each time we cross another provincial border, I pretend I’m entering another neighbourhood. By the time I land back in Saint John, I’ve convinced myself she’s just on the other side of town. The reality of 5000 kilometers is too much…
Meggie always sources a new gourmet grocery store for us to forage when I’m visiting Calgary. She and I love to meander through the beautifully stocked food aisles figuring out what we’ll make for dinner. This visit we bought burrata, Parma proscuitto, golden cherry tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, gigantic milk fed veal chops, eggplant and fennel, San Marzano tomatoes and house made focaccia. From there , Theo took us to a gorgeous wine store that just happened to be doing a huge tasting. I, practically, jumped out of my skin when I walked in and saw a display for the Avignonesi vineyard from Tuscany. Ralph and I make a pilgrimage to it every time we’re in Italy! We splurged on a couple of big bold reds then took all of our goodies home to play.
For our antipasti, we made a bit of pesto to drizzle over the burrata, piled the proscuitto and finished the plate with a cluster of roasted cherry tomatoes. We easily could’ve stopped eating right there but we didn’t…
I made a simple eggplant sauce for the pasta course and those gorgeous veal chops were served “piccata’ style. I’ll be sharing that recipe later this week. OMGoodness, it was deadly! I always leave some room in my suitcase for hard-to-find-in-Saint-John food. This trip, I packed guanciale, farro and dried cannelini beans. It would’ve made quite an interesting conversation going through security had they opened my bag. Oh, the risks we foodies take…
Farro Salad with Asparagus, Grape Tomatoes and Feta
¾ cup semi-pearled farro
6 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
6 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Cook farro in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. [follow the manufacturer’s instructions]
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Meanwhile, blanch asparagus and in another pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes then plunge into an ice bath. When completely cooled, drain well
- Toss farro with asparagus, tomatoes, onion, and dill.
- Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl.
- Season dressing with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You have to taste this – I used ¼ teaspoon of each
- Add dressing and feta to salad
- Toss well to coat then serve.
THE LOVE: I tasted farro for the first time in Tuscany. It’s an ancient grain with a lovely nutty flavour perfectly suited to serve both warm of cold. It’s difficult to find in this part of the world so if you do see it in the speciality section of your supermarket – grab it!
one year ago: blue cheese biscuits
two years ago: giant globe artichokes with French vinaigrette
Thanks for reading.
photos from Calgary Meaghan Zunich