In a bid to expand our summer dinner party repertoire, we turned to Lexie Smith for her favorite seasonal recipe. An artist, writer, seasoned baker, and all-around food enthusiast, Lexie’s long-time experience in restaurant kitchens and passion for food-centric education and sustainable farming practices made her the perfect candidate for recommending a nutritious dish to impress. Lexie’s Summer Picatta Farro has all of the ingredients for a satiating summer meal: light, refreshing, bulked up by the enduringly popular asparagus and sweetened with sizable chunks of nectarine.
Lexie is the Program manager at Sky High Farm, a non-profit on a mission to provide programming and training to directly address inequality within the food system. You can find out more in our recent story.
Summer Picatta Farro
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
- 1 1 cup farro
- 2 1 bunch asparagus
- 3 3/4 cup sugar snap peas
- 4 1 piece of good bread, stale is fine
- 5 1 peach or nectarine
- 6 Mint
- 1 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 4 anchovies, oil packed (not salt)
- 4 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, thick
- 5 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 7 Salt as needed
- Sauté the shallot, garlic and anchovies in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Smash the anchovies until they dissolve into the oil. Cook until the shallots begin to shine and smell fragrant, but before the garlic burns. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half. Add the butter in chunks, mixing until smooth, followed by the lemon zest and juice. Remove from heat.
- Cover 1 cup of farro with an inch or two of stock or water (use roughly a 1:3 ratio of grain to liquid). Season with some salt. Bring up to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cover. If you’re using pearled farro, cook for about 15 mins total. If you’re using whole farro (a little toothier, heartier) cook for about 30. Don’t let it turn to mush. Drain if there is residual liquid, and toss with a little oil or butter.
- While this is cooking, break the woody ends off from some fresh asparagus and blanch the stalks in boiling salted water for about 3-4 minutes, until they’re tender but still bright and hold their posture. Drain and leave under some cold running water for a few minutes. When cool, cut into pieces about 1.5” long.
- Take a few handfuls of snap peas, devein them and cut them in half.
- Slow toast a piece of bread, ideally sourdough and a bit brown. Rub with a cut garlic half, cut-side down. Grate or smash it into some crumbs.
- Cut a nice peach or nectarine into reasonable chunks or half moons.
- Throw it all together and toss with the picatta sauce. Rip up a few pieces of mint and scatter on top. Serve warm or cool. Season with lemon zest and salt to taste.
Thank you to Lexie Smith for her Summer Picatta Farro recipe.
Lexie is the Program Manager at Sky High Farm, a nonprofit set on 40-acres in Ancramdale, New York we recently visited to learn more about increasing food access and working towards a better food system. A New York native, Lexie has spent years developing workshops and events, and advocating for food-centric education and sustainability.
She is also an avid writer and baker. Her independent art project Bread on Earth is an exploration of bread’s possibilities, from its conception to its consumption, and the power of community and self-sufficiency. All of Lexie’s projects as an independent artist and researcher can be found at her website.
To learn more about her work, we also invite you to read our Sky High Farm story, where we interviewed Lexie and her colleagues on addressing inequality in the food system, here.
Text: Ellen McBride
Photography: Caroline Tompkins