I’ve made this one a couple of times now: Heidi Swanson’s Farro & Herbs recipe. At my work, there is always at least one whole-grain salad at every cafe—bulgur, quinoa, farro, barley, spelt, blah blah blah. I love these damn salads, but have rarely tried to replicate them at home. This is at least in part because of the work involved—you have to cook the grains (not always the work of 15 minutes) AND sometimes cook the other stuff that goes in them. But this one is pretty easy, if you have the time to cook the farro itself. And you can play with it a bit to suit your taste. The only crucial piece of advice I have is that you really need time to cool the farro, too. I made this last weekend for my parents, and I was in a hurry, and the mozzarella melted a little bit due to the hot farro, which made it somewhat indistinguishable in texture from the creme fraiche and was just not as summery and pleasant.
- Do use creme fraiche if you can find it (it was not available at my parents’ Vons. Surprise, I know). The sour cream/cream substitute recommended in the recipe was fine, but it doesn’t feel as classy or delicious.
- Farro > barley.
- Add tomatoes! I slice up cherry or grape tomatoes and throw them in. They add some nice fruity pop.
- Arugula is also nice, for peppery-ness. Totally optional.
- 2 cups uncooked semi-pearled farro
- 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
- 5 cups water
- 1/3 cup creme fraiche
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeeze lemon juice (plus zest)
- 2 teaspoons good-quality white wine vinegar
- 2 bunches / 1 oz fresh chives, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- scant teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- more salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 oz mozzarella or bocconcini, cut or torn into chunks
- 1/2 pint (~20?) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved