I fancy myself a bit of a salad aficionado. When I think salad it's not just leafy greens, a million possibilities come to mind. My salad repertoire spans a full spectrum, from warm salads to chopped salads. Today's salad of choice falls into the essential grain salad category. Usually containing fresh veggies, herbs, hearty nourishing grains and flavourful vinaigrette, this particular breed of salad is extremely satisfying. Mediterranean Farro Salad is my ultimate workday lunch. It tastes perfect at room temperature and it provides great energy.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
Origin: Adapted from, Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network
Notes: Farro is a whole grain, sometimes called Emmer, it is a close cousin to Spelt. It has a mild nutty flavour and a hearty chew. I buy mine at a local Italian grocery store as this grain is commonly grown and eaten in Italy.
1 1/2 cups farro (dry)
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups green beans, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/2 cup pitted black olives, roughly chopped
1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips (about 1 cup) (I used some Hungarian yellow pepper too)
3/4 cup Parmesan, crumbled (I dig into the Parmesan with the tines of a fork and break off small chunks)
1 small bunch chives, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine the water, vegetable stock and farro. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain farro well and transfer to a large bowl to let cool (or spread grains out on a large plate or baking sheet to cool quickly).
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes (you can also steam the green beans until crisp tender). Do not overcook the beans. Transfer the cooked green beans to a bowl of ice water and let cool for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and pepper, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify.
Once the farro has cooled, add the green beans, olives, red pepper, Parmesan, chives and dressing. Toss to combine and serve.