Author Notes: I love farro for its nutty texture, and it has the same nutritional benefits as brown rice but cooks in half the time. Rather than simply cook it in water, I added some garlic, onion and parsley to the pan to infuse extra flavor. This recipe started with the Mr. asking me to cook something for his office potluck, so I decided to focus on a salad that could easily double as a side or main course for any vegetarians hoping to take part in the potluck. Studded with tiny bits of fresh mozzarella, chopped olives, onions and grape tomatoes, it's now my new favorite summer salad. The dressing is also a very versatile vinaigrette you can toss with any mixed greens for a homemade option to bottled dressings. - Jennifer Perillo - Jennifer Perillo
Food52 Review: This salad would be great as a side dish, or as a one-dish meal. Jennifer Perillo starts by cooking the farro with red onion, parsley and a clove of garlic, perfuming the grains with the aromatics as they cook. Juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and briny kalamatas break up any potential monotony, and diced red onion, basil and parsley keep the dish from feeling heavy. For the dressing, she combines olive oil, a little honey and two different vinegars (we love how the cleaner, more bracing tang of red wine vinegar cuts through the sticky, caramel notes of the balsamic); the rich, nutty farro takes to the sweet-sour vinaigrette like a moth to a flame. - A&M - A&M
Serves 8 to 12, as a side or main course
- 2 cups uncooked farro (or substitute barley)
- 1 medium red onion, cut in half
- 1 clove garlic
- handful of fresh parsley plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
- 1 cup finely diced (about 1/4 "cubes) fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 teaspoons minced pitted kalamata olives
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- FOR THE DRESSING
- scant 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Add the farro, one onion half, garlic, handful of parsley and salt along with 2 3/4 cups water to a 2 quart pot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes. Discard the onion, garlic and large pieces of parsley. Spread out on a rimmed sheet pan and let cool completely (do not skip this step or the mozzarella will melt into the finished dish).
- Whisk together the olive oil, vinegars and honey to prepare the dressing. Chop the remaining onion half finely. Add onion, cooled farro, mozzarella, kalamata olives, tomatoes, remaining tablespoon of parsley and basil to a deep bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and stir well to combine, using a long wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper. The salad is ready to serve, but can also be made and stored in the fridge, covered, one day ahead.
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