The Last Barbeque of Summer was this weekend, at our friends’ place in Oak Park. It’s a symbiotic relationship that developed a definite pattern this summer: We love abusing their hospitality by taking advantage of their grill, they love watching their kids take advantage/abuse us. Seems to work for all parties involved.
On the menu were burgers and beer. The realization that I’m but a month away from a bikini parade prompted my contribution of a salad. A while back I’d picked up a packet of farro, which has been loitering on the high shelf next to more popular items like crackers and chocolate. When it’s time to get serious about the whole grains, farro is a wonderful choice: minimally processed, it is high in proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins and has a chewy, nutty taste. Also known as emmer wheat and grano farro, this grain was cultivated in ancient Egypt and was a staple for the Roman Empire.
Farro Summer Salad
– In a cast-iron skillet, toast the farro grains until lightly browned and fragrant. Keep the heat on and add liquid based on a 3:1 ratio. Chicken broth, vegetable broth, water and a little white wine, all work well. I used veggie stock from my freezer. Let the farro simmer until just past al dente.
– Meanwhile, chop fresh vegetables, herbs, and crumbly cheese. For this salad, I used tomatoes, peppers, dill, scallions, parsley, and feta. Make a vinaigrette of olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon zest and juice, salt & pepper.
– Toss the farro, vegs, and vinaigrette. Add the cheese. That’s it! Toasted almond or pine nuts would have been a nice addition, if I’d thought of it at the time. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Reader, this took me all of 25 minutes, most of which was spent watching the grains cook. I used an 8 oz. packet, made about 12 servings. The leftovers made a great lunch on a bed of greens. This was a really delicious end-of-summer salad; think I’ll be making farro with roasted squash, caramelized onions, blue cheese, and a cumin/orange-based vinaigrette for fall and winter dinners.