Recipe
Comments 20

Fregola Sarda with Asparagus, heirloom tomato and goat’s curd

Finding something new to cook with is always exciting. I love prowling food markets and shops looking for that new ingredient or spice. My most recent discovery is fregola sarda (or fregula sarda), a toasted pasta from Sardinia, similar to cous cous but coarser, and because of the way it is toasted quite nutty. Like alot of Italian ingredients, it is exclusive to its area, and is relatively unknown outside of Sardinia. It is also still handmade, something I would like to try sometime in the future when I have time to spare.

I have been cooking with alot of grains recently: pearl barley, farro, wheat, rye. They’re perfect for light summer lunches or side dishes, and fregola is a welcome member of this summer arsenal. With no strong flavour of its own, It combines well with almost anything, and is traditionally served with the likes of clams. This sounds wonderful and is on my list to try, but today, I felt like giving it a London twist, using seasonal produce for a nice light lunch.

Accompanying the fregula in this dish is English asparagus, absolutely bursting with flavour at this time of year. The season is short so I am making the most of it. A punnet of heirloom tomatoes from the Isle of Wight tomato stall at Borough Market accompanied, these incredible tomatoes are juicy and succulent with thick meaty flesh, and absolutely wonderful for this purpose. The final main ingredient is goats curd, a fresh cream cheese made from goats milk that is really light and delicious. I saw this for the first time when I visited Australia (Sydney) some years ago. It’s a great place for food, fresh ricotta and other culinary gems are so easy to come by, it was here that I first had goats curd and have lamented that it’s not available here since. Earlier this year I spotted a large bowl of it in Neal’s Yard Dairy in Borough Market and I’ve been using it since. I use shallots as a base ingredient, I used half an eschalion shallot as they’re quite large. If you don’t have any shallots you can substitute red onion or spring onions (scallions).

Ingredients:

100g fregola sarda
8 spears asparagus, woody ends discarded and chopped into 1 inch segments
1 large heirloom tomato (approx size of a beef tomato, substitute two plum tomatoes)
Half eschalion shallot or one normal shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons goats curd (substitute soft goats cheese if unavailable)
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Dressing: 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
S&P

Method:

Cook the fregola for 10-12 minutes in boiling water until al dente. For the last two minutes add the asparagus, they will cook in this time. Drain and run under cold water to arrest the cooking process, put to the side.
Remove the tomato core and seeds and dice. Mix with the shallots, fregola, asparagus and parsley and dress. Season to taste.
Add the cheese, I pulled small chunks off with my fingers and dropped them onto the salad.
Enjoy!

20 Comments

  1. oooh, I’ve not come across fregola sarda before but I’ll look out for it next time I am in a market. I love searching out hose new ingredients too. Heirlook tomatoes are always so beautiful too aren;t they?

  2. Another day another grain this looks delicious. So glad tomatoes are coming back into season it feel likes months since I felt tomato seeds dribble down my chin .

  3. Very interesting as I never heard of fregola sarda before. Sounds good!

  4. Kitchen Goddess says

    Fregola sarda is so good. I first ate it while holidaying in Sardinia, it a tiny cafe overlooking the sea, beautiful. Gorgeous looking salad too, summer is on the way :)

  5. Helen – the heirloom tomtoes aer gorgeous. There’s a stall that serves fregola in Borough too. One trip will have you covered :-)

    Becky – another grain indeed, and these are only the ones I’ve blogged! I’m a little obsessed.

    Thanks JJ.

    Thanks Sylvie, I am lucky to be so near Borough Market.

    Sounds lovely George & thanks! Bring on Summer!

  6. Joan says

    Hi,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a bit now although have never commented (or at least I don’t think so…)! Yes, fregula is very good and it is also cooked with meat (pork and cabbage for a hearty meal!) or “in brodo”, in broth/stock. My husband is Sardinian….. so I know! I’ll be in London for a weekend at the end of July and so am going back over your posts for interesting restaurant recommendations! (I live in Milan). Want anything from here?
    Joan

  7. Hi Joan! Thanks for commenting! :-)

    I shall have to get one of those traditional recipes – that sounds great! Any you care to share?

    Oh, I would be happy to make some receommendations for you. Send me some info about where you’ll be staying etc. So sweet of you to offer to bring something over but you’ll have enough to carry I am sure. Be careful, I might come back to you with a long list!

    • The Italian store in Chelsea Market sells fregula, and I believe Fairway does as well.

  8. Pingback: Make Room for Asparagus « eat like a girl

  9. Pingback: Some Recipes for Summer from the Archives « eat like a girl

  10. Louise says

    So lovely! The strong grains are a great combo with the asparagus. Yum!

  11. it’s not a grain, it’s essentially a pasta made from durum wheat (which is, admittedly a grain) like cous cous

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