Greek Grain Salad

IMG_9224

I’m so excited to be working with my friends at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York this summer.  The farm grows organic vegetables, fruit, flowers, and wheat and over the last few years I have loved experimenting with the different fruits and veggies that show up in the CSA box each week. This year, Amber Waves opened a beautiful new farm store, and to celebrate, I’ll be sharing recipes inspired by what’s in season and available at the farm all summer long. Wherever you live, I hope you’ll find inspiration to cook seasonally, eat locally, and explore delicious new ways eat your way through the summer!

IMG_9164

IMG_9175

This week I’m excited to share my recipe for Greek Grain Salad- an easy, crowd-pleasing side for all your summer P’s (parties, picnics and potlucks!)  Big grain salads are one of my go-tos for cooking for groups, and this one in particular makes great use of summer vegetables – Amber Waves grows peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, parsley and even onions and garlic.

This salad has all the flavors and satisfying crunch of a classic Greek salad, with farro instead of lettuce. Farro is my favorite grain – it’s deliciously nutty and chewy and only takes a half hour to cook, or 10 minutes if you can find the pearled kind. In this case, farro not only makes the salad a more substantial side for a party but also makes it a better dish to prepare in advance, and a better one to bring to the beach!  Speaking of the beach, it might just be time for a dip…

IMG_9185

IMG_9223

Greek Grain Salad


Ingredients

  • 1½ cups farro
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic (1 large clove)
  • 1 large English cucumber, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • ¾ cup minced red onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, ½-inch diced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preaheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the farro with 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the farro is just cooked. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the hot farro and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the red pepper slices on a half sheet pan and toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. Set the peppers aside to cool slightly.

Add the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, roasted peppers, parsley and olives to the bowl with the farro. Stir until combined, then gently fold in the feta. Serve at room temperature.


Farro with Shaved Asparagus, Peas and Pecorino

IMG_4719

There’s a limit to how many stalks of limp, soggy, brown-green asparagus I can eat before I start to feel like one myself. And there’s really no reason to overcook green spring vegetables, when they have such a great crisp crunch that lots of them can eaten raw or just barely cooked.  Raw asparagus stalks might be a little too “raw” for most people, but when peeled into slivers, they are tender and absolutely delicious. The thin ribbons absorb the lemon vinaigrette beautifully in this salad, and continue to marinate as the salad sits.

IMG_4697

Similarly, shelled English peas have a great crunch and while you could make this salad with frozen peas (I would recommend defrosting, and blanching them for 30 seconds in boiling water first) what makes it especially good is the combination of different textures and fresh, bright flavor- the chewy farro, the crunchy peas and pistachios, the lemony asparagus ribbons, and the salty flakes of Pecorino. This is a recipe to celebrate Spring’s greatest hits, and the better your veggies are, the better the salad will be.

IMG_4687

This  is a great grain-and-vegetable-in-one side dish, but having now eaten for it a week as I’ve worked on the recipe, I can say it makes a pretty good dinner on its own, with a soft boiled egg on top.

Farro with Shaved Asparagus, Peas and Pecorino

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearled farro, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 stalks of asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh peas
  • 2 tbs chopped Fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Combine the farro with 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until just tender.
  2. 2, Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the asparagus stalks into thin ribbons. (I found this is easiest if you lay the asparagus flat on a cutting board.)
  4. When the farro is cooked, drain and add to the bowl with the dressing. Add the peas, asparagus and mint, and toss to combine. Let the salad cool completely, then add the Pecorino and pistachios, and mix well.
  5. Serve at room temperature.