May 2, 2011
I discovered farro a couple of months ago at a menu tasting for a work event. It is said to be the oldest grain in the U.S. and can be cooked “risotto style” but is also delicious in soups and salads. This easy make-ahead recipe is tasty on its own (I like to take for lunch) or a great fiber-filled side for any meal. I get rave reviews whenever I prepare it and it’s currently one of my favorite things to throw together on a Sunday for the week. I’m kinda obsessed with it. After making it, I think you will be too.
Farro Summer Salad Serves 8 to 12, as a side or main course
2 cups uncooked farro
1 medium red onion, cut in half
1 clove garlic
handful of fresh parsley plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
1 cup finely diced (about 1/4 “cubes) fresh mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons minced pitted kalamata olives
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
FOR THE DRESSING
scant 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I’ve also used Walnut Oil,it’s equally as yummy)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey)
1.Add the farro, one onion half, garlic, handful of parsley and salt along with 2 3/4 cups water to a 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes. Discard the onion, garlic and large pieces of parsley. Spread out on a rimmed sheet pan and let cool completely (do not skip this step or the mozzarella will melt into the finished dish). Ask a question about this step.
2.Whisk together the olive oil, vinegars and honey to prepare the dressing. Chop the remaining onion half finely. Add onion, cooled farro, mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes, remaining tablespoon of parsley and basil to a deep bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and stir well to combine, using a long wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper. The salad is ready to serve, but can also be made and stored in the fridge, covered, one day ahead.