This salad is based on a Giada De Laurentiis recipe, though I switched up the veggies and added preserved lemons. If you've never had farro, it tastes to me like a cross between wild rice and barley. It looks rather like rice, but it has a chewier, denser texture. Farro is actually a species of wheat, and it is very popular in parts of Italy, especially Tuscany.
Preserved lemons are usually whole lemons that have been pickled in salt and the juice from the lemons. They are a common ingredient in Moroccan recipes. It is quite easy to make your own preserved lemons, or, many Middle Eastern grocery stores carry them.
Here is Giada's recipe:
10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
8 ounces green beans, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips (about 4 ounces or 1 cup)
3 ounces Parmesan, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 small bunch chives, snipped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of water with the farro. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the farro is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and simmer until the farro is tender, about 10 minutes longer. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and stir. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked green beans to a bowl of ice water and let cool for 2 minutes. Drain the green beans.
Once the farro has cooled add the green beans, olives, red pepper, Parmesan, and chives. Stir to combine. In a small bowl mix together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, mustard, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Pour the sherry vinaigrette over the farro salad. Toss to combine and serve.
The changes I made:
For the veggies, I used raw grated carrots and defrosted peas, as this is what I had on hand. I did not use any cheese. When I made the dressing I used lemon juice instead of vinegar. I also added a couple diced preserved lemons-you can use the peel and all.
This was an easy, and yummy salad. If you are interested in trying farro, this may be a good recipe for you.
If you would like to make your own preserved lemons, here is a link to a recipe on epicurious.com.