I have been craving salads at the moment and greens of all kinds. Now that we have moved into Spring I want to cook with all those Spring herbs that have popped back up in my herb garden, chives, mint, tarragon and I've been buying dill by the handful. There is nothing like having fresh herbs in a salad. This salad in particular has lots of fresh dill and a really great combination of flavors and texture and hearty enough to be a light main course or satisfying lunch.
I've been cooking with farro for quite some time, baked dishes, salads, even hot cereals. Did you know that farro refers to 3 specific wheat species? Spelt, Emmer and Einkorn are all types of hulled wheat. If you are cooking farro it's important to follow the cooking instructions on the package and cook accordingly to the type of grain you have. Over cooked farro can be mushy so keep a watchful eye when cooking. I like to use Bluebird Grain Farro, its grown here in the Pacific Northwest, its organic and they grow both varieties, Emmer and Einkorn.
The dressing for this salad is a caper-current vinaigrette. I adapted the recipe from the Six Seasons cookbook. It has a great agrodolce flavor and could be used on numerous types of dishes, so save any left overs to adorn another meal.
I hope your Spring is off to a great start. I've been enjoying the blooms on the trees and the bulbs popping up. The chickens are laying up a storm and I need to start planning what to plant in our garden this summer.
Farro, Green Bean and Feta Salad
Dressing adapted from Six Seasons
10 oz. green beans, trimmed
1 cup farro
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
1 15oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
5 oz. feta, crumbled
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup Zante currents
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 of a 2 oz. can of anchovies fillets, drained
3/4 cup lightly packed flat leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cook farro according to packaging for timing. Let drain and cool on a baking sheet. Boil a large pot of salted water, add green beans and blanch until crisp and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Submerge in cold water to stop the cooking and keep the beans crisp. Drain beans.
Toss green beans, farro, chickpeas, pistachios, feta, dill and vinaigrette in a large bowl. I like to serve this closer to room temperature but you can serve chilled as well.
Put vinegar and currents in a bowl and let the currents plump for about 30 minutes.
Put garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add capers and anchovies and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Add the parsley and pulse until completely chopped, again scraping down the sides of bowl when necessary.
Add currents and vinegar and pulse until the mixture is blended but still slightly coarse. Scrape.