Weather, what is up? One day it's hot enough for shorts and my chives are wilting, and then it pours rain for a week. Where do I live, Seattle? The lawn is growing like it's going out of style, and yet I've lit a fire in the wood stove the last couple of days. It's confusing.
The one thing I do know is that regardless of the forecast, summer is nearing, and that means salad season. I'm already excited for my Cantaloupe Basil Salad, Grilled Nectarine Salad with Roquefort and Arugula Salad with Watermelon, Feta and Prosciutto. But the cold and windy rain has to call it quits before summer fruit can make an appearance, so in the meantime, here's a transitional salad to help us ditch the stews and reintroduce fresh greens into our diets.
I use baby arugula for this recipe—the smaller, tender leaves have a more delicate flavor with less spice. But regular arugula would be fine too. I love the combination of toasted walnuts and farro, both for their nutty flavor, and chewy crunchy texture contrast. Feta cheese adds creaminess, and dried currants are the perfect sweet component. Finally, the dressing with macerated shallots and Dijon mustard lends acidity and sharpness, rounding out the dish.
Serve this salad for lunch, as a light dinner, or alongside roast or grilled chicken as a side dish.
ARUGULA FARRO SALAD WITH FETA AND BASIL
- 1 cup farro
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 2 ounces basil
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta (preferably the sheep and goat's milk variety)
FOR THE DRESSING
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- a 5 finger pinch of sea salt (such as Maldon)
- freshly ground black pepper
- a splash of maple syrup
Rinse and drain your farro in a sieve. Add it to a medium pot with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the farro is soft but still chewy. If the farro does not absorb all of the liquid, pour it off. Set the farro aside to let it cool. (Note: farro can be cooked ahead and stored in the fridge. Simply bring to room temperature before serving.)
Meanwhile, combine the shallot, Dijon, apple cider vinegar and sea salt in a jar. Stir to combine, and set aside for 10 minutes to let your shallot macerate in the acid. This will remove the onion-y zing.
Add the arugula to a salad bowl. Chiffonade your basil leaves by stacking the leaves on top of each other, about 8 in a pile, and rolling them lengthwise into a cylinder before slicing across with a sharp knife. Add the strips of basil to the arugula. Add the farro and currants to the bowl as well.
Finish your dressing by adding the olive oil, black pepper and maple. Whisk to combine, or put the lid on your jar and give it a good shake. Pour some dressing over the salad mixture. (You will definitely have leftover dressing. Keep it in the fridge, and simply remove it about 30 minutes before your next salad so the oil can come to room temperature.) Toss to combine, then add the walnuts and feta. Toss lightly, and serve.
Serves 2-3 as a main course or 4-6 as a side dish