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Cauliflower and Farro Salad

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photo by Jack Sorokin

Food Culture of the South

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Serves 4

    For the cauliflower:
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 tablespoons blended oil (Dissen prefers a 75/25 blend of canola and olive oil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • to taste
  • For the farro:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups farro medio
  • 2½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 medium onion
  • quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the root vegetables:
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 12 thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 8 Hakurei turnips
  • trimmed and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 8 cherry bomb radishes
  • trimmed and cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced
  • For the confit shallot vinaigrette:
  • 2 large shallots
  • 1 cup blended oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon wildflower honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the spinach:
  • 1 tablespoon blended oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the garnish:
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 cup chèvre
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree (see recipe below)
  1. Make the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Gently toss cauliflower in oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out evenly on a sheet tray and roast until lightly browned and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Make the farro: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm oil and add farro. Lightly toast for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in stock, onion, carrot, and herbs, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until farro is tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a sheet tray to fully cool. Remove onion, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme.
  3. Make the root vegetables: Working in three batches, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat in a medium sauté pan. Add two garlic cloves, four sprigs of thyme, and turnips and season to taste. Cook until turnips are golden on one side. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with paper towels to cool and drain. Repeat with radish and fennel. Set aside.
  4. Make the vinaigrette: Place shallots into a small saucepan and cover completely with oil. Heat on medium heat until oil is at a very light simmer. Cook for 25 minutes or until shallots are tender. Completely cool shallots and oil, then strain shallots out. Reserve oil for the vinaigrette. Place shallots, mustard, cider vinegar, and honey in a blender and puree on high speed. While motor is running, add the confit shallot oil to emulsify. Season to taste, transfer to a container with a lid, and set aside.
  5. Make the spinach: In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and add garlic. Cook until garlic turns golden, then add spinach. Working quickly, toss spinach in hot garlic and oil until lightly wilted. Season to taste and set aside.
  6. To assemble: In a medium bowl, toss farro in ½ cup of the vinaigrette. Add roasted root vegetables, thyme, and basil. Season to taste. On four plates, smear a couple tablespoons of pumpkin puree and then mound the farro salad over the pumpkin. Add roasted cauliflower, chevre, and sautéed spinach. Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Puree

1 pumpkin or butternut squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Split pumpkin or squash and scoop out stringy flesh and seeds. Roast for 30 minutes. Cool and puree in blender with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.


From A Tale of Two Cooks.

  • From William Dissen, The Market Place, Asheville, North Carolina

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