11 July 2014

Recipe | Fregola, Asparagus & Smoked Salmon

You know when you try a dish or a new food for the first time and you think to yourself, how on earth have I not had this before?! Those were precisely my thoughts when I tried this Fregola, asparagus and smoked salmon dish. Now, it may just be personal preference (my tastebuds were loving life) but I've recommended this to other people before and they haven't been disappointed so I thought I would share it with you guys as well! It took me about two attempts to get it just right but when it's done right I think it's hands down one of the tastiest things to make, pretty easy to rustle up once you have the hang of it, and it is quite healthy too which is always a bonus! 

If you haven't had Fregola before and are wondering what it is, you can find out more here. You can find Fregola in Italian specialty shops, online where it's really inexpensive, or if you're lucky enough you may find them in the italian section of your local supermarket. If you really can't find it, then use Acini de Pepe pasta, which looks the same but hasn't got the same toasted nutty flavour of fregola, so you would have to toast it in a pan for about 5-10 minutes before continuing with the recipe below as normal. You really don't need too much of it in the dish as it may not look like a lot but it is pretty filling.

(Serves 2 ) You will need: 
- 8-10 spears of asparagus
- 1 - 1 and 1/2 cups of Fregola (or a substitute as mentioned above)
- 2 handfuls of a salad base of your choice
- 3/4 strips of smoked salmon
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. red pepper paste (note. not the spicy kind and usually comes in a jar)
- salt and pepper to season

Equipment : 
- 2 medium/large pots
- Sieve
- Medium/Large bowl
- 2 deep dishes/ bowls to serve
- A pan if you are using Acini de Pepe

1) Take two deep dishes/bowls (like above) and put in a handful of your favourite salad base with a little bit of olive oil - with this I liked mixed leaf or rocket. You can have this without the salad but I think it adds more depth to the dish and you can never have too many greens.
2) Bring a pot of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt, and add the Fregola, stirring it every so often so that it doesn't stick together or to the pan. Leave to boil for approximately 15 minutes (or however long the packaging specifies), but make sure that it is al dente when you take it off the heat, as you don't want it to become too soft or lose its shape. If using a substitute for fregola, do the same thing but follow the instructions mentioned above first.
3) Whilst the Fregola is boiling, put the asparagus in a pot of boiling water and salt and cook for between 3-6 minutes, drain and place on a tissue to allow any remaining water to be soaked from the asparagus. 
4) Once the Fregola is cooked, drain and put in the medium/large bowl, and add in the tablespoon of red pepper paste, mix together well without damaging the form of the fregola balls, season with salt  and allow to sit for a few minutes. 
5) Slice each of the asparagus spears into 3/4 pieces, adding it into the bowl with the fregola. Place this mixture on top of your salad base and drizzle with olive oil.
6) Place the strips of smoked salmon on the top, and you're ready to serve.

Let me know if you like the sound of this dish, or if you have had Fregola before and what you think of it. Enjoy! 
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