Mediterranean Farro Salad

It’s the new grain chefs and home cooks are buzzing about. We’re together a summer salad featuring farro.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
1 package Farro
2 t. salt
1 c. homemade oven dried tomatoes in infused oil, recipe follows
1 c. feta cheese, cubed
1 English cucumber, med. Diced
¼ c. kalamata olives, halved
2 c. spinach leaves, thinly sliced

Greek Vinaigrette
½ c. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
¾ t. onion powder
¾ t. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c. olive-grape seed oil blend

In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add the Farro, 2 teaspoons salt, and water (or stock, if using). Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the Farro is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Check a few times while it is cooking, you want it to be al dente. Remove from the heat, drain any excess water, and set aside to cool.
While the grains are simmering cut the cheese and vegetables. Next make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients and drizzling the oil in last. Season to taste.
When the Farro has finished cooking it should be softened but chewy still. Rinse it with cold water to cool it down quickly. Toss it with the olives, cucumbers, spinach, oven dried tomatoes then the dressing. After that is combined add the cheese last and toss gently trying not to break up the cheese. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve chilled.
Oven Dried Tomatoes in Garlic and herb infused Olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes (Roma or grape, heirloom varieties work as well)
Kosher Salt and pepper
2 c. olive oil
2 T dried basil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t. oregano
¼ t. red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Using a serrated knife cut the tomatoes into rounds making 2 cuts per tomato so you are getting 3 pieces. Gently run your thumb against flesh to remove the seeds and place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat process until all tomatoes are done. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and freshly grind a little pepper over the top and place in the oven to dry. It will take about 2 hours or until dry and leathery. They can be packed in an air tight container or marinated an infused olive oil and kept in a refrigerator. To make an infused oil heat 2 cups of oil in a sauce pan on the stove and add aromatics. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.

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