When I set out last weekend to make a concerted effort to bring down our weekly food bill, making good use of items on hand was key to the strategy. I had eggplant, tomato and pesto that wouldn’t last much longer. We’d already been eating a lot of pasta the previous week with these same items, so I was looking for a change of pace. Then I remembered we still had some hearty faro grain on hand that ought to get used. Previously, I’ve made a main course with faro by combining it with steak and mushrooms. I thought grilled eggplant could provide a similar heartiness to go with the earthy grain. I was pretty pleased with the taste of this new dish, as well as the way it might good use of the ingredients on hand. I was off to a good start with my Frugal Food Challenge!
1 1/4 cup faro, soaked for 30 minutes and rinsed
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 large eggplant, sliced into circles about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch thick circles
3 tbsp pesto, optional
2 tbsp olive oil
extra parmesan cheese for serving
3/4 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
After you slice the eggplant, spread it out and sprinkle it with salt. Let it sit that way for about 30 minutes, then wipe the salt off. This improves the flavor and consistency. Preheat the grill to medium as the end time for your salting approaches.
After the salting of the eggplant, spray both sides of the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil, then place on the grill. Turn them over once, grill for about 8 to 10 minutes until the veggies are nicely browned and soft. The zukes need a bit less cooking time. I put the eggplant directly on the grill and the zukes in a grill pan. Remove from grill and spread out to cool. After the veggies have cooled a bit, slice them into bite sized pieces.
Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water to cook the faro. When it’s boiling, add the faro grain. It takes about 25 minutes to cook until softened. Drain the faro when it’s tender. Toss with the olive oil, grilled veggies, tomatoes, pesto and mozzarella. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parmesan cheese for people to use at the table if they wish. This can be a good, hearty vegetarian entree, or substantial side dish. This would go nicely with a green salad or in our case, we served a cold cucumber soup. I almost forgot until I was looking at the photos that we had a small piece of grilled swordfish along with this, a nice bonus!
Variation: If you don’t have pesto on hand, I’d suggest trying this with about 4 cloves garlic minced and sauteed in olive oil instead of the pesto. I had that with a simple pasta dish the other night.
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