Fregola Sarda Salad

A light and bright salad accented by capers, garlic and hazelnuts.

Ingredients:
3 large eggs
1¼ cups fregola sarda
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
1 lemon
2 or 3 medium endives, or 1 head radicchio cored & cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
½ cup torn fresh basil
⅓ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
Sea salt
Optional: a sprinkling of dried currants

Method:
1. Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by ½ inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly 10 minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking, place them in the ice bath for 3 minutes or so–long enough to stop the cooking. Peel, grate on a box grater, toss with a couple pinches of salt, and set aside.

2. Bring at least 8 cups of water to a boil, salt the water generously, add the fregola, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (or follow the package instructions). You want it al dente, not at all mushy. Drain, rinse lightly with cold water, and shake off as much residual moisture as possible.

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the capers and garlic and cook until the capers burst and start to brown. Remove from the heat, discard the garlic, and stir in ¼ teaspoon of salt.

4. To serve, transfer the fregola to a large bowl or platter. Pour the contents of the skillet on top of the pasta and give it a good toss. Add the zest from the lemon and about 1½ tablespoons of lemon juice — a good, generous squeeze. Add the endives, basil, and most of the hazelnuts and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning before finishing with the grated eggs, remaining hazelnuts, and currants.

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