With temperatures soaring into the high 90′s and above this Summer in South Florida, I’ve been craving dishes with delicious, lighter flavors as well as the delightful wines that pair with them.
The latest edition of “Fast & Fabulous” features Roasted Shrimp, Watercress and Farro Salad which definitely fits the bill. This dish has plenty of delicious flavor, great texture and healthy ingredients to boot. The recipe calls for farro, one of my favorite “ancient grains,” that Italians have been eating for over 2,000 years! This grain is also known as emmer or hulled wheat and was widely cultivated in the ancient world giving rise to the term “ancient grains” that today is used to refer to farro and other grains such as quinoa, amaranth and spelt, all of which have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years.
In addition to being tasty, farro also has health benefits including cholesterol-lowering fiber. A cup of farro has about 8 grams of fiber, while brown rice weighs in at around 5 grams. Whole grains like farro are also chock full of minerals such as magnesium which can help relieve tension and reduce the effects of stress. It’s complex carbohydrates also break down slowly, helping to keep your energy and blood sugar levels stable.
Given this dish’s Italian origins, what better than an Italian wine to pair with it? The Vigne Regali Cuvée Aurora Rosé 2008 ($29, click here to purchase) is a sparkling wine from Italy’s Piedmont region. It is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes that were selected and hand picked in hilltop vineyards located in the Langhe in the south of Alba. This cuvée consists of 90% clear wine and 10% of the previous vintage wine, aged in French oak barriques. Fermentation takes place in the bottle the wine is later served from, as stipulated in the Methode Traditionelle, the same method used to make Champagne. This wine is a beautiful crystalline pink color with a lovely bead of bubbles and aromas of freshly baked popovers with strawberry butter. On the palate, flavors of red berries and pomegranate are accompanied by a bright acidity and dry finish. The sparkler nicely accentuates the flavor of the succulent pink shrimp and complements the spicy watercress, nutty farro and creamy white beans as well.
I hope you find the time to enjoy this light, delicious dish before the Summer’s over, and the pink sparkler certainly adds a special touch. If you’ve been spending time in the kitchen this Summer what has been your favorite dish to prepare? Do tell! Also, if you haven’t had the chance, please stop by and “Like” our new Glamorous Gourmet & Wine Atelier Facebook Fan Page. We recently revamped it and are having a lot of fun interacting with fellow food and wine lovers about pertinent food and wine topics. We’re also posting Daily Wine Reviews as well. We greatly appreciate your support – Mangia!
1 cup farro
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of half a lime
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 15 oz. can of cannellini or Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup watercress leaves
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Soak the farro in warm water for about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Pour into a medium saucepan with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer keeping the pot covered. Add a pinch of salt and cook for about 30-40 minutes, checking frequently. The farro should be soft but have a slight chew to it. Drain to remove excess water, and then transfer to a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Set aside.
Preheat the broiler.
Toss the shrimp with 2 more tablespoons olive oil, some salt, pepper and the lime juice. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Let cool slightly.
Make the salad dressing by combining the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, mint, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste in a small jar. Cover and shake vigorously to combine.
Toss together the farro, beans and watercress in a large bowl with half of the dressing. Season liberally with salt and pepper. To plate, transfer the salad to a large platter and top with the shrimp. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side. Makes 4 large or 6 small servings