We’ve been traveling quite a bit, but whenever I’m in the kitchen lately, all I want is summer fruits and vegetables done simply. I grate tomatoes into pan-con-tomate pulp, add a glug of good olive oil, sherry vinegar and sea salt–it’s wonderful as it is, or spooned over grilled fish. I grill olive oil-ed asparagus and lemons together–and sauce the charred spears with the deep, grilled juice. Cut corn from the cob and fold it, raw, into every pasta/grain/salad that crosses your path.
There is certain summer produce that, once it comes into season, I cook and eat compulsively until it disappears from the market. Green garlic–the immature garlic bulb that isn’t yet papery on the outside–is one example. I use a mandolin to thinly slice the bulb whole, and then saute as I would with minced garlic cloves. Zucchini is another example. This year I’ve discovered the fresh joy of raw zucchini: marinate zucchini coins/ribbons/”spaghetti” with salt, lemon juice and good olive oil until the zucchini goes wilty and soft. That’s it.
In this salad, both treatments get elevated. I love grain-and-vegetable salads for summer: they’re happy in the fridge for many days, they serve a crowd and they’re great for picnics/cook-outs/travel.
I think this salad is particularly well-balanced–hefty and satisfying, but also bright, fresh, and just a little spicy. All the salad-parts can be prepared while the farro cooks and cools. If you don’t enjoy a lot of heat, use a less spicy pepper.
This recipe is an amalgamation of the green garlic-dressed farro I ate at Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (they very graciously shared the recipe with me), and Charlie Bird‘s recipe for Farro Salad printed in the New York Times. It is good, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Serves 8
- 1.5 cups (290 grams) farro
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 very small red onion, cut into half-moon slices
- 1 tablespoon + 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 heads spring garlic, minced
- 1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- the juice and zest of 1 large lemon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 medium-large (275 grams) zucchini, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese shavings
- 1/2 cup minced chives
- 1.5 cups chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- Set a pot of salted water (4.5 cups water to 1 tablespoon salt) on the range. Add the apple cider vinegar and the bay leaf. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and then add the farro. Lower the heat to medium-high and cook the farro uncovered for 30 minutes, or until chewy and al dente. Drain the farro, and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, soak the onion slices in lukewarm water for 10 minutes, to make them less harsh; drain and dry the onion slices.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the zucchini coins with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Let the zucchini sit for 15 minutes, until it slackens.
- Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, saute the green garlic and the pepper with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the vegetables are translucent and soft, spoon them into a mortar and pestle. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and the zest and juice of 1 lemon; make a vinaigrette/paste. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, this can also be done roughly with a bowl/large fork.) Fold the vinaigrette into the farro.
- Fold the zucchini into the farro. Fold in the Parmesan shavings, chives, parsley and pumpkin seeds. Adjust the lemon juice, if needed. Serve slightly warm, or at room temperature.