I never thought I'd be one of those grain-loving hippies. But here we are. Eating farro salad on the real. I should also tell you that I never envisioned myself eating a cold salad (as in a salad that was once warm and is now cold). But let me tell you that this salad is excellent either cold, room temperature, or warm. It's amazing how versatile this dish is.
In case you've never heard of farro, here's the quick low-down. Farro is a grain that has quite a nutty flavor. If you want to make things really simple, one could say that farro is very similar to brown rice. Before this recipe, I had never tried farro before, although I saw numerous favorable reviews of it on the food blogs that I follow.
When Shutterbean originally made this salad, I was finally sure I needed to recreate it myself. I think I was "wooed" by Tracy's description of Giardiniera-like ingredients and the addition of feta cheese. I have a newfound obsession* with Giardiniera and we all know how I feel about cheese. Yes, I would be making this dish. Just watch me!
* I am quite aware that I have a new obsession every other week. Let's not be judgmental in these parts. Thanks.
slightly adapted from Shutterbean's recipe
makes 6 servings
- 1 cup farro
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- 5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 scallions, minced, white and green parts
- 1 red bell pepper, small diced
- 1 carrot, small diced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded, small diced
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta (optional)
1) Combine the farro and 3 cups of boiling salted water in a pot and cook, uncovered, over low heat for ~30 minutes, or until the farro is soft. Drain.
2) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, saute the onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
3) In a large bowl, combine the warm farro, sauteed onions, scallions, red bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, feta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper.
4) Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes for the farro to absorb the sauce. Season, to taste, and serve at room temperature.
This salad was so good that I may have taken a fork to it before the allotted 30 minutes were up. And I may have done it again right after the 30 minute mark. And again after that. Whatever. I do what I want. The texture is a mixture of nutty grain, crunch and tangy vegetables, and sweet balsamic dressing. Let's be honest. That is pretty much holy grail status for everything I want in my food. There is no reason to NOT make this.
Farro, you have made me a believer in your goodness. Let's whip out the hemp, beads, and maxi skirts. Just kidding. Unless you're into that. Then maybe I'm not kidding.