19 December 2012

Farro Salad

A Christmas trip to Sabato.  Now any trip to Sabtao is a good one.  They make you a coffee & you can taste olive oils, vinegars, olives, cheese, cured meats, chocolate treats & all sorts of delectable treats.  But Christmas....Christmas is a whole other level.  So many wonderful chocolates, nougats, panettones, mince pies, panforte.  The shelves are positively bursting with festive goodies, sparkling & festive it is like being lured into Foodie Santa’s grotto.  I would have taken photos but my hands otherwise engaged sampling & sipping on my coffee.  The Mini Cudie Catanies are a favourite.  Fragments of caramelised Marcona almonds covered in nut praline & dusted with cocoa.  Another favourite from yesterday was the Venchi chocolate covered rum nougat...rich chocolaty & just a nice we kick of rum.

Post all the chocolate I moved on to cheeses & salami & olive oils & then I spotted some farro.  I have never cooked with farro before, but it looked interesting & ancient & good for you.  So I thought perhaps the perfect antidote to all the chocolate tasting?  I wasn’t wrong.  It is a chewy wheat like grain similar to barley & packed full of vitamins B & E along with magnesium.  So I give you my take on the farro salad.  

Feel free to add or omit as you like.  I think some roasted red peppers would be a welcome additions or perhaps olives instead of the capers? And of course any mix of green herbage you have to hand wouldn’t hurt either.  I like parsley & I am loving dill at the moment, so please, mix it up & experiment.

Farro Salad

Serves 2-3


For the salad
3/4 cup farro
2 bay leaves
1 Lt water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, or quartered if they’re large
1/2 small red onion, peeled and diced
1/4 cup feta crumbled

For the dressing
2 tablespoons chardonnay or other white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Zest & juice of one lemon
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Place the farro in a large saucepan and cover with the water.  Add the bay leaves & bring to a gentle boil. Cook the farro according to the packet instructions. Stir occasionally to make sure the farro doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

While the farro is cooking heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat and add the mushrooms.  Saute for a few moments & then add the thyme & garlic.  Season with salt & pepper & saute for another couple of moments.  Remove from the heat & set aside.

Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat and add the asparagus & grill for a few minutes each side until a little charred, remove the asparagus & allow to cool before cutting in to 2cm pieces.  Place the asparagus in a large bowl.

Add the capers, herbs, cherry tomatoes & red onion to the asparagus and add the farro & mushrooms.

For the dressing whisk all the ingredients together & season to taste.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad & mix gently together.  Plate on a platter & sprinkle with feta. Serve at room temperature.

Filling & satisfying this was perfect for lunch the next day.  The farro is quite like barley, & I am a fan of barley.  Something quintessentially comforting about it, though usually it would be in a pot of Scotch broth.  So finding a variation that works for Summer is a find for me.  All the vegetables mean every bite is different & the herbs provide a bright freshness.  And feta, well feta makes most things taste better with it’s slightly salty sharpness.

If you like this you might like this Cracked Wheat Roast Pumpkin & Feta Salad
Two years ago Christmas Muffins



  1. I love meals like this, especially when we can add what we love and what we have on hand. I love farro and think what I have in my cupboard is a box of fast-cooking farro. Great for salads. Yours is beautiful!

    1. Thanks Jamie...just love I have found a grain I love & that is satisfying....as salads will be the order of the day post all the holiday over indulgences!

  2. This is a wonderful dish. Healthy and delicious!

    1. Thanks El a win win for all the salads I aim to be eating over the next few weeks!

  3. Fabulous salad, Mairi! What a marvelous selection of flavors and textures in it. We have a local farro source and I love cooking with it.

    1. Thanks Hannah...I just discovered it & have fallen for it in a big way....just so lovely & comforting & in a salad!

  4. You make me want to run into Sabato and shop bit thankfully the surf is too good and keeping away from spending money! I love farro must use it more often. Have a fab Christmas in Melbourne. Alli x

    1. You too Allie, that shop is dangerous at the best of times, but Christmas is insane, in such a good way....though very bad for my wallet!

  5. I love your salad concoctions which look and sound so fresh and inviting.

    1. Thanks Julie....satisfying too...so a win win on the salad front :) And salad most definitely needs to be the staple food over the coming days!

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