Recently I discovered the fregola, first course originating from Sardinia and I am learning to appreciate its versatility.
Its shape resembles a large couscous, therefore it lends itself to being treated in a similar way.
Traditionally used in combination with fish I find that, in particular the toasted fregola which has a very particular flavor, it is very interesting in combination with vegetables.
I have always loved traditional cuisine but, not eating meat for twenty years, I have often found myself in the position of having to modify many recipes, declining them in a veg version. This led to many of my dishes including this Sardinian fregola winter salad with leek and carrot brunoise, avocado cream quenelle and leek roots.
Ingredients for 4
320 gr of toasted Sardinian fregola
1 medium-sized leek (with roots)
1 ripe avocado
salt, pepper, oil
Bring 1 pot to the boil with plenty of salted water.
Wash the leek, peel the carrot and cut them into small dice (1-2 mm). Wash the leek roots thoroughly, separating them from the stem, coarsely chop them (except for a few tufts that will be used to decorate the dish) and keep them aside.
Put a non-stick pan on the fire with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, pour the vegetables and cook over low heat for about 10 '(the vegetables must caramelize, but not burn). Salt, pepper, add the leek roots, mix and cook for another 2 minutes then turn off the heat.
When the water boils, pour the fregola and cook for the time indicated on the package (usually 10 '). In the meantime, shell the avocado and put it in a blender together with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Reduce to a cream.
Put the non-stick with the vegetables back on the heat.
Drain the fregola, pour it into the non-stick and mix well, adding a pinch of pepper and, if needed, a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil.
Pour into the dishes, with the help of two spoons, make a quenelle with the avocado sauce and decorate as desired. In the dish in the photo I used some leek roots, beetroot chips (made with a dryer: 40 ° C for 8 hours) and Sichiuan pepper.
If you don't know how to do the typical wrist movement to make a quenelle, here
you can find a useful video.