Tuesday, May 26, 2015
It's been a month and I'm still being inspired by Turkey. The food was just so fresh and flavorful - perfect timing as we barrel into summer. A friend of mine has a great rooftop in Logan Circle so we took advantage of the amazing Memorial Day weekend weather and grilled out. This farro salad was one of our sides. I had a very similar salad at Kafe Ara in Istanbul and I haven't stopped thinking about it. Farro isn't a grain you see all that much in the US. We have it, sure, but it's more often seen in Italy and other parts of Europe and the Middle East. I'm not sure why, it's flavorful and slightly chewy like barley...so good and hearty, and it cooks way faster than barley or rice - I'm sold.
The add-ins below are just one (really delicious) option - you can add any veggies you like with any dressing you like. You can add chunks of chicken to make this a meal, or serve it as a side to a fish filet. Use wild rice instead of farro...you get the point, its completely customizable. This version is sweet, tart, salty, crunchy, chewy - all of the varying textures and flavors make it super satisfying. I hope you give it a try!
2 cups uncooked Farro
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds, toasted
1/4 cup Dried Tart Cherries, roughly chopped (or whole, your preference)
1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds
1- 1.5 cups Cucumber, diced
1/4 cup Sprouts, rinsed with roots trimmed off (optional, I use alfalfa)
2-3 Scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Mint, chopped
1/3 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
Cook farro according to package instructions, then drain and set aside to cool in a large mixing bowl. I add a couple shakes of Montreal Chicken seasoning, as well as one chicken bouillon cube, just for added flavor. You can always use chicken stock/vegetable stock/plain water – whatever you choose.
Toast the almonds in a dry small frying pan on medium-low heat, just until they start to brown and you can smell them – should only take a few minutes. Set aside to cool.
Chop and prepare all other ingredients.
When the farro is cool, add remaining ingredients. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss well to coat the entire salad. Add additional vinaigrette to taste. Feta can be tossed in with everything else, or just crumbled on top. Serve at room temperature, or chilled if you prefer.
*I make my own vinaigrette. I don’t measure anything (sorry!!), but here is what I include:
Fresh Lemon Juice, a few tablespoons
Dijon Mustard, a tablespoon or so
Salt & Pepper, to taste (slightly more pepper than salt)
Dried Thyme, couple shakes of the bottle
Honey or Agave Nectar, maybe a tablespoon (or use a pinch or two of sugar)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – good quality – probably ¼ - ½ cup
Whisk everything together until well combined. Can be stored in a jar or bottle in the fridge for a couple weeks.