Most of the blogs I read are food blogs or at least touch on food in some way. A lot of them end with a recipe for some dish or other so I can recreate the dish at home. I rarely do it. Often I’ll make a note of an interesting flavor combination and take a quick peek at it before making a variation on it, but I can probably count on my hands the number of times I’ve looked up a recipe online and followed it all the way through. I’m just not in it for the recipes. Often times it’s a recipe I already know, made with a slight twist and sometimes not even that. I read the post greedily and then glance over the recipe. They’re about life, the real stuff – the small, every day, drives you crazy, makes you laugh, raison d’etre stuff. The important things. Food is just the vehicle.
That’s sort of the case here. This grain salad isn’t unique, I’m not the first person to throw grains and vegetables with a vinaigrette and serve it cold. I didn’t have to test it to know it would work out well. But it became more than the sum of its parts. I made it this weekend for a baby shower where we sat on the grass in the sunshine and ate it with quiche and soup and the first strawberries of spring. We sat around and talked about families and busy lives and small details that are less weighty but no less important. I made it a second time for dinner with friends and we ate it with roast chicken while talking about jobs and playing boardgames and drinking fancy beer. The salad was good but it’s flavor is all wrapped up in early spring sunshine and new beginnings and laughter. It’s the story that makes it worth sharing.
Spring Farro Salad
Serves 6-8 as a side
Maybe you’ll make this recipe, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll just be inspired by all the spring produce now available. I know I was.
1.5 cups semi-pearled farro, uncooked
1 lb asparagus spears, with the tough ends trimmed off
1 tbs oil
1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced (about 1 cup of radish)
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 – 1/2 cup crumbled feta
Basic Vinaigrette (or your favorite salad dressing)
2-3 handfuls of mixed baby greens or other lettuce mix of your choice
BOIL a gallon of salted water and add the farro. Let it cook at a simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain it and set it aside to cool.
GRILL the asparagus after tossing it with the oil and a half teaspoon of salt. Cook it for about 5 minutes, turning the spears every few minutes so that they don’t burn. Alternatively, you could broil them for about the same amount of time.
TOSS farro, grilled aspargus, radishes, scallions, parsley, and feta together with another half teaspoon or salt and as much dressing as you’d like (I use 2-3 tablespoons). The grains will soak up a lot of flavor and you may need more than you would expect. Set the salad aside until you’re ready to serve.
JUST BEFORE SERVING toss in the greens and taste to see if it needs extra dressing or salt. Adding the greens at the last minute means they won’t wilt from the dressing. Any lefovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days but the greens will end up a little slimy if left in the dressing for more than a day or two.