Going with the Grain
When you're a cook, field research means eating out a lot. What amazes me in perusing menus around town is the availability of so many new ingredients, as chefs strive to make their cuisine more authentic and importers answer the demand. Because of the popularity of all things Mediterranean, this is the year of exotic grains and legumes. Specialty food shops are now selling farro (Italian spelt), fregola (a grainlike pasta from Sardinia) and other ingredients that the following salads and side dishes showcase.