Is there anything more inspiring than a day at the beach? Summer in Northern Michigan means that the whole outdoors is your living space. As it is here, it is so also in Germany. Though I have noticed in the travel magazines the the Germans are intrepid enough to eat out of doors even in the mild parts of Winter. I might be of German descent but I am not that well adjusted to brave a Winter picnic. That is a special treat for Summer.
Summer eats tend to be sandwiches, chips and assorted finger foods unless you will be at a park with a grill. Or bring your own. Once in a while you will find our basket filled with salads. The latest salad on the Summer menu is new for us.
Dinkel is the German for Farro, commonly called spelt and sometimes confused with other varieties of wheat. Farro is a grain related to wheat that is more ancient than the Roman Empire. The protein rich grain is a staple in many European cultures as it is an economical alternative to expensive beef products. German preparations for Farro salad do not differ all that much from the Italian preparations. Though, true to German character, there are cream based dressings for the salad. As it is Summer and we like to keep things light on our adventures, and afterwards, this dressing is prepared with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Working with Giada’s recipe I made only minor alterations.
First instead of the fresh herbs I used dried. My German Thyme did not survive for a second year and I did not plant any new this year. We will get back to the herb garden next year. So I substituted 2 teaspoons Marjoram for parsley, used dried chives to taste and a very small pinch of dried regular Thyme, about an eighth of a teaspoon and black pepper.
And I upped the veggie count. In addition to the tomato & onion in Giada’s recipe I added:
When I peeled and trimmed the asparagus, I took slices of the thicker part of the stalk. From each stalk slice until you have reached a thickness that will leave tender shoots when it has been steamed. The slices are about one eighth to one quarter inch thick. These were steamed in a basket on top of the farro during its cooking process, chilled in an icy water bath and then drained.
Peppers, celery, green onion
Finely diced multi colored peppers, red and yellow, gave a bit of extra color and crunch to the salad. Farro should be cooked until tender not soft like oatmeal. Since this was my first time and I slightly over cooked it the crunch from extra veggies was necessary.
I left the dressing for the recipe alone. You could use a fancy flavored balsamic vinegar for that little extra punch. If you are into flavored olive oils and have a bottle infused with herbs on hand use that. I imagine that would be even more amazing.
We picnicked on the deck once we got home from the beach with the steamed asparagus and a deep fried frickadellen rounding out the meal. Despite the deep frying this was a really light but filling meal. Each person had two frickadellen whereas one would be otherwise tempted to an American sized portion of 3 or 4.
Served with luncheon meat & cheese roll-ups you can eliminate the processed white bread of a traditional sandwich at the beach for a true shoreline picnic. Fresh seasonal fruits round out the meal anyway & anywhere you serve it.