This is good as a warm medley of flavours with a side salad or it can be made as a cold salad served with salad. Either is good. It is not necessary to use all the ingredients listed. The basic building blocks are farro, lentils and aubergines – add further ingredients to suit your taste or what is available or to hand… There are quite a lot of stages here but if you are organised it possible to do in an hour…
To make Dad’s Aubergine, Farro and Lentil Salad:
Cook the farro and lentils. Wash the lentils and add to a pan with the reserved butter bean water and 400ml of water. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes. Check the cooking time for the farro. If it is the same as the lentils cook together – if it is shorter subtract the difference and add to the lentils during cooking. This just helps maximize the flavours. Simmer so that the water is fully absorbed into the farro and lentil mix if possible. If there is water left over – drain and set aside – it can be used to moisten the salad at the end.
Boil the potatoes, celeriac and warm the beans. Peel the celeriac and cut into small cubes. Wash the potatoes and cut in half. Put into a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender but firm. Drain the water into a separate saucepan, and set the potatoes aside. Add the celeriac to the water and bring to the boil, cook until just underdone and still firm. Drain into a separate pan and let the moisture steam away from the celeriac. Add the butter beans to the reserved cooking water to warm.
Pan roast the pepper, aubergine and celeriac. Wash and chop the pepper into small cubes. In a large wok or frying pan, fry the peppers on a medium-high heat until cooked but also charred and blackened to a degree. Use a small amount of vegetable oil to help this along. (A non-stick pan is best.) Put the peppers to one side. Wash and chop the aubergines into cubes. In the same frying pan add the aubergines. Add a 1 tbs light olive oil or vegetable oil. Fry until well-cooked and slightly charred (add a more oil if necessary). Add the peppers, stir and put into a bowl and set aside. In the same pan fry the celeriac in small amount of vegetable oil. Fry until well-cooked and slightly charred. Combine with the peppers and aubergine and set aside. NB: These all need to be done separately as they all cook at different speeds.
Cook the broccoli and the cabbage. Wash the vegetables and cut into small pieces. Put into a large saucepan of boiling water and cook just until the broccoli is tender but firm. Drain immediately, and if using in the warm salad, put aside on a plate – if using in a cold salad plunge into cold water and then drain.
Combine the ingredients. In a large wok or saucepan add the tomato puree, vinegar, sugar and 80ml of water, bring to the boil and simmer for a minute (this is optional). Add all the other cooked ingredients and stir until well mixed. If serving warm add chopped basil and mix into the other ingredients. If serving cold add the basil as a garnish. Season with salt and pepper – then drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon if desired.
Serve. Garnish with mozzarella pieces. For the warm salad, serve with a cold side salad. For a cold salad, allow all ingredients to cool then serve onto lettuce as individual salads. Garnish with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.
Other salad recipes: Asparagus Niçoise Salad, Dad’s Californian Salad with Artichokes and Fresh Vegetables, Smoked Chicken, Smoked Salmon and Parma Ham Salad or Kohlrabi Asian Salad.