image sourced from tarotdame
FARRO AND VEGETABLE TOWER IN ASPIC
2 fennel bulbs
1/3 Savoy cabbage
200 ml/0.85 cup cooked farro
200 ml/o.85 cup vegetable stock
100 ml/0.42 cup dry white wine
2.5 tsp gelatin powder
Extra-virgin olive oil
– Slice the fennel finely and braise it in a little olive oil. Don’t forget to salt it. When the fennel is soft, add half of the wine and cook until it’s reduced to half.
– Put the fennel on a plate and pour the remaining liquid into the vegetable stock and leave it to cool down a bit.
– Shred the Savoy cabbage finely and repeat what you made with the fennel.
– Mix the gelatin (see instructions on the package to get the perfect measure) with the hot stock and dissolve it well.
– Take 4 small ramekins or forms, preferably on the tall side and proceed to make the ‘tower’. Sprinkle some chopped chives as a first layer and then a layer of braised fennel. Next layer is the farro and then one of chopped chives. Follow up with a layer of savoy cabbage and then one of farro. Finish it with a layer of fennel. Push down each layer a little to make it more solid.
– Pour the stock into the forms until it covers the vegetables.
– Put the form in the fridge for about 3 hours or more.
– Before serving you dip the forms quickly in hot water and then pass a sharp and thin knife around the edges before turning them up-side-down on plates.
Grano Farro has a long and glorious history: it is the original grain from which all others derive, and fed the Mediterranean and Near Eastern populations for thousands of years; somewhat more recently it was the standard ration of the Roman Legions that expanded throughout the Western World. Ground into a paste and cooked, it was also the primary ingredient in puls, the polenta eaten for centuries by the Roman poor. Important as it was, however, it was difficult to work and produced low yields. In the centuries following the fall of the Empire, higher-yielding grains were developed and farro’s cultivation dwindled: By the turn of the century in Italy there were a few hundreds of acres of fields scattered over the regions of Lazio, Umbria, the Marches and Tuscany.