This salad of asparagus and golden beets with farro, crispy sage, and lemon brown butter is the ultimate trans seasonal dish, singing with the earthy flavours and spirited colors of late spring produce. Bursting in hues of green and gold, the colors of my native Australia, this dish is so evocative of nature and earth, with sunny beets paired with spring fresh asparagus, nutty farro grains, and aromatic crispy sage. The lemon-scented brown butter adds a surprising, toasty, fragrant hit to the vegetables.
1 cup farro, rinsed
3 large gold beets, peeled and cut into ¾" cubes
2 - 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
15 oz asparagus, trimmed
½ cup sage leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
¾ cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup sprouts or microgreens
sea salt and black pepper
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
half lemon, juiced, about 1 1/2 tablespoons
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
In a pot of boiling salted water, add the farro and crushed garlic and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
On a large baking tray, place the golden beets and coat in extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt. Roast in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tender.
Cut asparagus spears into 1 inch/2.5cm pieces. Heat some olive oil in a large frypan and add the asparagus. Cook until they are bright green, tender but still crispy.
To make the lemon brown butter, melt the butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the sage leaves and swirl around in the butter until the sage crisps up. Remove the sage leaves, and allow them to drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Add a sprinkle of sea salt flakes to the sage and set aside. Continue to cook the butter until it is browned and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Then, carefully whisk in the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, and maple syrup. Add a pinch of sea salt.
Combine the farro, beets and asparagus. Drizzle with some olive oil and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Place onto a large serving tray and spoon over the lemon brown butter. To serve, scatter over shoots, crispy sage leaves and walnuts.
Hetty McKinnon is an Australian salad-maker and author now based in Brooklyn. In 2011, she founded Arthur Street Kitchen, a community kitchen in Sydney where she created full-bodied, hearty, plant-based salads. She is the also the author of "Community, Salad Recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen", and is currently serving up her distinctive salads in pop events around Brooklyn. • arthurstreetkitchen.com