One of my preferred salads at Safeway is their orzo salad. I had decided to make an Italian dinner, so I thought I would make something similar using the Italian grain farro. Daughter Miriam always wants things vegetable forward. As I planned my salad, I added more and more vegetables.
Farro is one of the original domesticated wheat crops from the Middle East. While there are three grains that are called farro, the most commonly available variety in America is emmer wheat—the other two are spelt and einkorn. Farro is different from later wheat domesticates in that it cannot be threshed—the process of removing the wheat seeds from the stalk. As a result, it has become less commercially popular. Farro’s flavor and texture, however, is far superior to modern wheat strains.
Karl’s Farro Salad
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced into thin rounds
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
½ cup Karl’s Italian Dressing
⅓ tsp. Kosher salt
1 ½ cup farro, semi pearled
6 oz. baby spinach
1 cup marinated artichokes, drained
1 cup Kalamata olives
1 cup grape tomatoes
¼ cup green onions tops, sliced finely
1. Put the chopped vegetables into a seal-able container or plastic bag and pour the dressing over them.
Tip: Cut the vegetables into similar sized, but interesting shapes.
Note: While you may marinate the vegetables for only a few hours, it would be better to let them marinate for 2-3 days.
2. Put 3 cups of water and the salt into a lidded pot.
3. Bring the pot to a boil and stir in the farro.
4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.
5. Cook the farro for 20 minutes.
Tip: The grains of farro should be al dente, not mushy. Do not overcook the grain.
Note: The cooked farro may still be a bit soupy—all of the water may not have been absorb or evaporated away. Do not be concerned about this.
6. Put the farro in a strainer to remove any excess liquid.
7. Set the farro aside to cool to room temperature.
Tip: You may speed up this cooling by setting it in the refrigerator.
Note: It is a good idea to fluff the grains as they are cooling. While the grains of farro will not stick together like pasta, mixing it up will bring the hot grains in the center of the mass to the outside—speeding up cooling.
8. Just before serving the salad, put the baby spinach, the marinated artichokes, ½ cup Kalamata olives, ½ cup grape tomatoes, and the green onions into a salad bowl.
Tip: Reserve a half cup of the olives and tomatoes to garnish the salad.
Note: Daughter Miriam is “off” garlic and onions, but the green parts of green onions are apparently acceptable in small amounts. If you are not having problems with onions, feel free to uses the entire onions.
9. Pour the marinated vegetables over the other ingredients and toss to mix and coat the vegetables with the dressing.
Tip: Scrap as much of the dressing out of the container as you can.
Note: The cooked farro would absorb all of the dressing if you added it to the rest of the vegetables before adding the dressing. By coating the vegetables with the dressing first, you prevent this from happening.
10. Add the farro to the salad and toss to mix it in.
11. Garnish the salad with the remaining olives and tomatoes.
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