The Italian heirloom grain farro is the precursor to modern-day wheat. Its toothy texture holds up nicely in this salad of pea shoots, scallions and olives. Pea shoots, which are the tender leaves and tendrils from a pea plant, are sold at farmers markets in spring; if you can't find them, substitute baby arugula, baby spinach or even thin strips of chard.
Make Ahead: The salad can be assembled up to an hour before serving.
Yield: Makes about 10 cups
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound farro, preferably semi-pearled (or semi-perlato)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch spring onions or 2 bunches scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and green parts kept separate), about 1 1/2 cups
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced (1/2 cup)
- 8 ounces pea shoots (see headnote)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 8 ounces feta cheese or goat cheese, crumbled (about 2 cups)
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of cold water, stir in 1 tablespoon of salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the farro. Reduce the heat so that the water is barely bubbling around the edges and cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, about 25 minutes (the grains will start to split). Drain well in a colander, and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the white parts of the spring onions or scallions, the carrot and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring, until the onion softens and browns in places, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the pea shoots and toss with tongs for a minute or so until they just start to wilt; return the skillet to the heat if they’re slow to wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the cooled farro to a serving bowl and toss with the wilted pea shoot mixture, the green parts of the spring onions or scallions, the olives, the feta, the lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed.
From food writer Tony Rosenfeld.
Tested by Doris Truong and Jim Webster.
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