WILD RICE AND FARRO SALAD WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE
Delight your vegans guests with this delicious, colorful and satisfying salad for your Governors Ball.
1 1/2 cups raw wild rice (40 to 45 minutes, until puffed open; fluff and 5 minutes longer)
9 cups good-quality canned vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups raw farro (25 minutes cooking, covered)
Sherry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Butternut Squash Puree (recipe follows)
3 Granny Smith apples
1 small fennel bulb
4 raw baby beets
2 navel oranges
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 Brussels sprouts
Freshly ground black pepper
First, start cooking the wild rice. Put the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Transfer the rice to a 6-quart saucepan and add 4 1/2 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook the wild rice until the grains are tender and look puffed open, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover the pan, gently fluff the rice with a fork, and then cover and steam for about 5 minutes longer.
About 20 minutes after the wild rice starts cooking, begin cooking the farro. Put the farro in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Transfer the farro to a 6-quart saucepan and add the remaining 4 1/2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook the farro until the grains are tender, about 25 minutes.
When both the wild rice and the farro are done cooking, transfer each to a separate nonreactive bowl. Leave both to cool to room temperature.
Make the Sherry Vinaigrette (recipe follows). Stir it well and then divide evenly between the bowls of cooled wild rice and cool farro. With a fork, thoroughly toss the grains in each bowl with the vinaigrette. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Begin making the Butternut Squash Puree (recipe follows).
While the squash is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Begin by filling three mixing bowls with ice cubes and water. Squeeze the lemon into 1 of the bowls.
Core the Granny Smith apples. With a mandolin or sharp knife, carefully cut the apples into very thin, round slices. Immerse the apple slices in the bowl of ice water with the lemon juice.
With the knife, trim the top and bottom of the fennel bulb, removing protruding stalks. With the mandolin or knife, cut the fennel bulb into very thin, round cross-section slices. Immerse the fennel slices in another bowl of ice water.
With the knife, trim the tops and bottoms from the beets. Scrub the beets dry with a kitchen brush, rinsing well. Dry thoroughly with paper towels. With the mandolin or knife, cut the beets into very thin, round slices. Immerse the beet slices in another bowl of ice water.
With a sharp, serrated knife, peel each orange thickly enough to remove not just the white peel but also the outer membranes of the fruit segments beneath. Then, holding the peeled orange over a bowl, cut between the fruit of each segment and the membrane on either side to free the segment, letting it drop into the bowl. Set the segments aside.
Trim the stalk ends of the Brussels sprouts. With your fingers, carefully separate and remove the leaves from each sprout, keeping them whole and stopping when you get down to the tight core of smaller leaves that can no longer be separated easily. Reserve the cores for another use.
Heat a medium sauté pan, over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and, as soon as it is hot enough to swirl freely in the pan, add the Brussels sprout leaves and sauté them, stirring continuously, until they begin to turn a light golden color, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
When the squash puree is completed, assemble the salads.
First, separately and thoroughly drain the apples, fennel, and beets, patting all the slices dry with paper towels.
Divide the squash puree evenly among 8 serving plates, spreading it attractively across the center of each plate with the back of a spoon.
Stir the marinated wild rice and farro mixtures, and divide each among the plates, arranging separate mounds on top of the squash puree.
Over the grains, attractively arrange the apple, fennel, and beet slices, the orange segments, and the Brussels sprouts leaves.
Makes just under 1 cup
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil or other flavorless vegetable oil
1 small shallot, cut into small dice
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
In a nonreactive mixing bowl, put the vinegar, a little salt and pepper, and a pinch of the sugar. Stir briskly with a wire whisk until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
While whisking briskly, slowly pour in the oil. Stir in the shallot, chives, and thyme. Taste and adjust the seasonings to taste, if necessary, with more salt, pepper, and sugar.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE
Makes about 2 cups
1/2 small butternut squash
1 cup good-quality canned vegetable broth
4 tablespoons almond butter, preferably unsalted
With a sharp knife, carefully peel the squash. Cut the squash into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Put the sliced squash in a wide, shallow pan with lid. Add the vegetable broth. Cook, covered, over medium heat until the squash is fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain off any remaining stock and put the squash in a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade. Pulse the machine until the squash is coarsely pureed. Add the almond butter and pulse until a smooth puree forms. Season to taste with salt, adding it sparingly if you've used salted almond butter. Transfer the puree back to the pan. Cover and keep warm.