I’ve been itching to try farro in a salad and, as you may remember, I have the better part of a four-pound bag of farro sitting on my pantry shelf calling my name (See Farro and Bean Soup).
I couldn’t be more pleased with how this turned out.
It is pretty. It is unusual. The farro gives a nice chewiness to the salad. The raisins and dried cherries give a bit of unexpected sweetness and color to the dish. (I’m thinking that some fresh cherries could be used in this dish during the cherry season.)
As a bonus, the lemon vinaigrette in this recipe is really, really nice. I expect that you will find all sorts of uses for it.
And then there are the pistachios. I ask you…what part of life isn’t made better by pistachios?
My history with pistachios is a long one. A favorite pistachio memory is of the pistachio salesmen in Athens’ Syntagma Square. Syntagma is THE place enjoy a cold beer or a glass of ouzo out of Athens’ blistering afternoon sun (or, in the evening to enjoy a demitasse of thick and potent Greek coffee). As you enjoy your moment in Syntagma, salesmen drop a few pistachios on your table without making eye contact and walk on—knowing full well that, once you have tasted their pistachios you will summon them back. In this salad, pistachios are mixed into the farro and give a delightful heartiness to the salad.
Here is my adaptation of the original recipe from the Epicurious site. See the link to the original recipe at the bottom of this page.
Recipe: Farro with Pistachios, Mixed Herbs, Golden Raisins and Dried Cherries
1 C. Farro
1/4 t. kosher salt, plus more
1/4 C. pistachios
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. finely grated peeled ginger
1/4 t. sugar
1/6 cup grape seed oil or olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 sliced jalapeno pepper (or serrano), sliced into rings
1/2 C. coarsely chopped mixed fresh cilantro, mint and parsley (or more)
1/3 C. golden raisins (soaked briefly)
1/3 C. dried cherries (soaked briefly)
Rinse farro under cold water and boil in salted water for 20-25 minutes until tender. You will need to skim the surface of the water occasionally to remove foam.
While farro is cooking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and roast pistachios for 8-10 minutes. Cool roasted nuts and chop coarsely.
In a bowl, whisk lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger, sugar and 1/2 t. salt. Gradually whisk oil into mixture and continue whisking until dressing is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain farro in a colander and rinse in cold water. Put farro in a large bowl and add chile, raisins, cherries, and pistachios. Drizzle vinaigrette over farro mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Serve at room temperature.
Garnish with additional pistachios, chopped cilantro or mint and a bit of chopped lemon rind.
Here is the link to the original Epicurious recipe: