This salad solves two summertime cooking conundrums: not wanting to stand in front of a hot stove, and making a light, refreshing, flavorful salad that won't get all wilted and droopy after some time outside.
Our kill-two-birds-with-one-stone solution? Farro.
The ancient grain (you'll soon understand why it's still around) can be cooked hours before, or heck, the day before, serving, and it only needs 30 minutes on the stove.
Then the grains are tossed with some crisp cucumber, sautéed kale, a ton of herbs and one of our favorite spice blends, za'atar. Because farro is a hearty grain, it stands up to hot, humid days, unlike fragile greens that can quickly turn soggy.
Your guests will thank you. And you'll be thanking us.
Farro with Cucumbers, Za'atar and Ricotta Salata
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Vinaigrette:
½ cup thinly sliced spring onions
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)
2 teaspoon za'atar spice
Salt to taste
For the Salad:
2 cups farro
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, smashed
½ yellow onion, peeled
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups roughly chopped lacinato kale
3 medium cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced on a bias
⅓ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
⅓ cup finely chopped mint
2 ounces ricotta salata, shaved
1. Make the vinaigrette: In a small mixing bowl, combine the spring onions, juice and zest from the lemon, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and za'atar. Season with salt and allow the mixture to macerate at room temperature until the spring onions have softened, about 15 minutes.
2. Make the salad: Cook the farro in a pot of salted water over medium-high with the bay leaf, garlic and yellow onion until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the farro in a colander. Remove and discard the bay leaf, garlic and yellow onion. Transfer the farro to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
3. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the kale and cook, stirring often until the kale has wilted and become tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. To assemble the salad, add the remaining olive oil, sautéed kale, cucumber, parsley, mint, ricotta salata and vinaigrette to the cooked farro and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.