The farro salad from Heidi Swanson's Near and Far is so appealing—made with walnuts, bunches of alliums, and golden raisins, all dressed in a sweet and acidic vinaigrette—that even a whole pound of olives (yes, a pound!) couldn't keep me, a former olive hater, away.
In this dish, olives are not bits of shaved tire in a salad bar or petrified eyeballs with mysterious pits that no one knows what do with. Here, olives are briny in a soft and savory way, hefty, and hospitably green. The olives seatbelt the salad. In one olive is all of the richness, spice, sugar, and oil of the salad itself. In one, there is many!
In a saucepan, combine the farro, water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set over medium-high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat from a boil to a simmer, and simmer gently (still covered) for about 15 minutes if semi-pearled, longer if whole. Cook until tender but not mushy. Drain off any water and set aside.
Coarsely chop the olives and place them in a bowl along with the olive oil, walnuts, green onions, chives, red pepper flakes, jalapeño, honey, lemon juice, raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well and set aside (or refrigerate) until ready to serve.
If you've refrigerated the olive mixture, bring it back to room temperature before the final toss.
Combine the farro and olive mixture in a bowl and mix to combine. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice as needed.
Serve and top with thin strips of shaved cheese and dollops of ricotta, as desired.
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.