Thursday, April 22, 2010

Revving up: Citrus Parmesan Farro Salad

Oops. Life got in the way of my blog a bit, didn't it? Work has been nuts, and we now find ourselves with only one remaining weekend to get ready for Europe (gulp). So while I'm diligently making lists about what to take (I never actually place anything into a suitcase until the night before ... maybe I'll try to break that habit this time around), here's one of my favorite spring recipes that's easy and lively and nutritious all at once. Just the stuff to soothe my frayed, wishing-I-could-just-buy-the-entire-Anthropologie-catalog-as-vacation-wear nerves. Enjoy!

Citrus Parmesan Farro Salad

I've loved this salad for years, courtesy of the crush-worthy Heidi Swanson. Last time I made it I paired it with the spring vegetable soup on the cover of Super Natural Cooking - and then ate all of it before I could snap a photo. Make that soup. And this salad. Its bright lift will you carry over your woes, trust me. Making the dressing alone (oh, the dressing!) is bound to give you a grin.

4 to 6 big handfuls of mixed salad greens, washed and dried
2 cups farro*, rinsed and drained
5 cups water (or stock)
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1 medium orange, zest and juice
1 shallot, chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan, freshly shredded
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
a couple big pinches of salt
1/2 cup Spanish almonds, or toasted regular almonds
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1. Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro*. Taste often as it is cooking; you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.

2. While the grains are simmering make the dressing. Whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, shallot, Parmesan cheese, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. Salt to taste and set aside.

3. Just before serving, in a large bowl, toss the salad greens with a bit of the dressing. Add the farro and another generous splash of the dressing - gently toss again. Taste and add more dressing and/or salt. Finish by sprinkling the goat cheese and almonds across the top. Be careful not to over mix.

Serves 12 as a side. Leftovers refrigerate well if the salad isn't over-dressed.

*Note on cooking farro: Your cooking time really will depend on what type of farro you buy. If you're not sure or can't find out, just keep a close eye on it and taste it frequently. The last type of farro I found took about 30 minutes to cook.


  1. Since I am now in complete self-doubt re: my cooking skills, I think that upon your return from Europe you should come over (down?) and make this for me. Along with the soup please. On a related note, soup and salad is one of my favorite meals. I'm easy to please!

  2. We made that spring vegetable soup for dinner on Monday! It was SO good! Super Natural Cooking is my favorite cookbook... I've given it to three different friends as gifts already. The chipotle lima bean soup is on the menu for tonight's dinner.

  3. YES, Stephanie! I've given it as a gift twice myself! Love, love, love Super Natural Cooking - and will take photos of said amazing soup in order to do a blog post next time. :-)

    Samme: Loving your plans!

  4. Sounds delicious. I've not made faro. I need to broaden my grain horizons. Great food photos!

  5. The combo of greens and grains sounds like heaven right now. I added this to my to-do list. Hope all is well, Maggie!


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