The mild weather we’ve been experiencing in Montreal has put me in the mood for salad. But not just any salad: a tasteful Fregola Salad with Roasted Red Pepper.
As you can see, fregola look like tiny beads. These tiny beads have a wonderful nutty taste because they’ve been lightly toasted.
Originating from the south side of Sardinia (in Italy), fregola has often been compared to Israeli couscous. Sardinians will often prepare it with fresh clams and tomatoes. Thanks to its wonderful versatility and some very creative chefs, it can make an appearance in soups, as a side dish, or, my favorite, in salads.
I’ve read that it is surprisingly easy to make your own fregola at home. The procedure basically consists of combining some coarse and fine semolina with a sprinkle of salted water. You then have to rub the mixture with your hands until the tiny beads are formed. Toast in the oven and there you have it: homemade fregola. I’ve never made my own fregola, but it’s on my to-do list (or, at least, on my to-attempt list). For now, I buy my fregola in an Italian specialty store.
The combinations of simple ingredients like roasted red pepper and fennel along with the nuttiness of the fregola is a guaranteed winner. I also like to make this Fregola Spinach Pomegranate Winter Salad, who says you can’t have salads in the winter?
As I previously mentioned in this post about soft amaretti cookies, I visited Sardinia about thirty years ago. That was my introduction to the food of Sardinia, and I’ve been on the lookout for salads that incorporate fregola ever since.
A couple of years ago, I came across a recipe in the Food Section of the Montreal Gazette, submitted by a Montreal chef named Michele Forgione. Thank-you, Chef Michele, for the best-tasting Fregola Salad with Roasted Red Pepper ever! I played around with the recipe to suit my tastes. What changes will you make to call it your own?
Fregola Salad with Roasted Red Pepper
- 1-500 gram package of fregola
- 1/2 cup Corinthian raisins
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup pitted oil-cured black olives chopped
- 1 medium fennel diced
- 3 tablespoons chives chopped
- 3 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon basil chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup pine nuts toasted
- 2/3 cup roasted red pepper chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the fregola.
- Stir and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until al dente.
- Add the raisins during the last minute of cooking.
- Drain and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar.
- Add the fregola, olives, fennel and herbs. Combine.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Gently combine the pine nuts and the roasted red pepper.
- Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
Thanks for dropping by,
Ciao for now!