Friday, April 27, 2012
One difficulty for cooks outside Brazil who want to discover this versatile and unusual side-dish is sourcing the main ingredient - dry manioc flour. Those who are lucky enough to have a Brazilian food market in their community won't have problems, as every Brazilian market, large and small, in Brazil or outside, sells farinha. Those emigrant Brazilians who live in areas where there isn't a Brazilian community often carry farinha with them - hoping to avoid culinary homesickness.
Fortunately, there are a very few recipes for farofa that don't call for manioc flour, and those can be made easily almost everywhere. What these recipes don't have is the characteristic gritty feel of manioc flour, which Brazilians adore and some non-Brazilians find, to put it politely, less than wonderful. These recipes substitute dried bread crumbs for the manioc, but use the same basic cooking technique as the classic recipe. The flavor profile of the finished dish is very similar to classic farofa, and the dish can serve the same purpose as manioc-based farofa as a side dish. If farinha is completely unavailable to you, give this a try. It's next to "as good as the real stuff" good.
RECIPE - Bread Farofa (Farofa de Pão)
6 day-old French rolls
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup butter
salt to taste
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
Cut the rolls into thick slices and lay out the slices on a baking sheet or cookie sheet. Place in the preheated oven and toast until the slices are completely dry and nicely browned.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Grate the bread slices on a box-grater, using the largest holes. Reserve,
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter together until the butter is melted and the fat is hot but not smoking. Add the chopped garlic and cook just until it begins to brown. Do not overcook. Add the grated bread crumbs in a steady stream, stirring constantly, until all the crumbs are moistened by the oil and heated through. Season with salt to taste and remove from the heat.
Stir in the chopped parsley and serve immediately, or let cool completely and serve at room temperature.