For a whole new summer grain salad experience, broil farro until it's crackly and crispy, toss with parsley, parmesan, and lemon zest, then scatter over the ripest, juiciest tomatoes you have. Repeat all summer long.
A few notes:
—Substitute other grains for the farro (freekeh, wheat berries, spelt, and quinoa are favorites of mine).
—Use leftover or freshly prepared grains (fully cooled).
—For best results, cook the grains like pasta in a pot of heavily salted water to minimize the amount of moisture they retain. They’ll crisp better this way, and cook faster, too.
2 (is easily scalable!)
cooked farro (leftover or freshly prepared and fully cooled; see headnote)
sea salt, to taste
olive oil, plus more for drizzling
finely chopped parsley (dried well if damp)
finely grated Parmesan, plus more for finishing
finely grated lemon zest, or to taste
large tomatoes (1 to 1 1/4 pounds), cored and thinly sliced--or use a mix of different colors, shapes, and sizes
Heat the broiler with an oven rack about 4 to 5 inches from the heating element. Toss the cooked farro on a sheet pan with the olive oil and a few pinches of salt, then spread into an even layer. Broil for a few minutes, or until you hear a faint sizzle and popping sound. Stir, spread out, and broil for a few minutes longer. Repeat until the farro is lightly toasted and crispy-chewy in texture, about 5 minutes in total. (Better to err on under- vs. over-toasting; broil too long and the farro will get too hard and dry.) Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, toss the crispy farro with the parsley, Parmesan, and lemon zest. Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter and season with sea salt. Sprinkle some of the crispy farro over the tomatoes (making sure that the tomatoes aren’t hidden), and spoon the rest around the tomatoes. To finish the salad, grate a little Parmesan and drizzle a little more olive oil over the tomatoes, if desired.