February 20, 2015

Pan-Fried Cod with Farro Salad in Champagne Vinaigrette

My husband and I celebrated 11 years of marriage this past Valentine's Day!  We look forward to a romantic getaway every year, but once the celebrating is over, we come to the grim realization that we have to endure the long, bitter winter that just seems to go on and on... and on and on... like a bad run-on sentence.  You know it's brutal out when the school districts are closed because of the low temperatures.  The frigid weather sends me into complete hibernation mode, and all I want to do is bundle up all day with a hot cup of tea.  I'm happy to report that I've already gained my usual 5-pound winter weight, and I justify it by telling myself that the only practical thing to do is embrace the extra layer of insulation.  It takes everything in me to muster up motivation for exercise this time of year.  My daydreams have ever increasingly consisted of playing tennis under the hot son, or running on the trail next to my little sous chef.  

Speaking of running, I enrolled my daughter in Girls on the Run!  It's a program that "inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running."  Once it's completed, she and I will run our first 5K together!  More about that another time.

Because my exercise routine is rather unstable this time of year, eating healthy is a must.  Once a week, I incorporate fish into our meal rotation, and I'm always looking for different ways to present it to my family.  I've been experimenting with farro recently, and I decided to pair the two for dinner.  Farro is a wonderfully chewy and hearty grain that has a delicious nutty flavor.  It holds up well in soups and stews, and is a great substitute for pasta.  Farro is high in fiber, a rich source of vitamins B and E, and can stimulate your immune system and lower cholesterol.

This farro salad is dressed in a delicious champagne vinaigrette and seasoned with thyme, parsley, and rosemary.  A touch of freshly squeezed orange juice is added to brighten up the flavor.  Fresh tomato and artichoke are tossed in along with some minced onion for a little crunch factor.  This is a delicious salad that's hearty, healthy, and full of flavor.  It can can be enjoyed warm or cold.  I can't wait to use farro in my Tuscan Soup next time!    

Happy 11 years to my best friend, my love, my constant.

Yields 4 servings

  • 1 c Italian pearled farro, rinsed 
  • 3 1/2 c water 
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb cod, cut into 4 even pieces 
  • 1 c tomato, chopped 
  • 1/2 c artichoke hearts, diced 
  • 1/3 c sweet onion, finely minced 
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped 
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste 

Champagne Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp champagne wine vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste 


Combine the rinsed farro and water in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a low boil.  Cover and continue to boil for 15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, heat the butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Season the cod with salt and pepper.  Add the cod to the hot skillet.  Cook on both sides until it easily flakes with a fork, about 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness.  While cooking, occasionally spoon the melted butter on top of each piece of cod.  Set aside and keep warm.  

Make the vinaigrette.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, champagne vinegar, mustard, honey, orange juice, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne.  Set aside.  

Drain the farro.  Pour the vinaigrette over the cooked farro.  Stir in the tomato, artichoke, onion, thyme, parsley, and rosemary.  Season with salt, to taste.

Divide the farro salad evenly between 4 serving dish.  Top with a piece of cooked cod.  


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