Farro salad is a stable of any given Italian summer. Its freshness and lightness are perfect for a picnic or an evening appetizer, especially and if you happen to have a vegetable garden where to pick fresh tomatoes and basil.
There is much confusion or disagreement about what exactly farro is. Emmer, spelt, and einkorn are called farro in Italy, sometimes, but not always, distinguished as farro medio, farro grande, and farro piccolo, respectively. Regional differences in what is grown locally and eaten as farro, as well as similarities between the three grains, may explain the confusion. Barley and farro may be used interchangeably because of their similar characteristics. Spelt is much more commonly grown in Germany and Switzerland and, though called dinkel there, is eaten and used in much the same way, and might therefore be considered farro. Common wheat may also be prepared and eaten much like farro, in which form it is often referred to as wheat berries.
We do use farro religiously in our house, especially in the warm season. However it is also a great ingredient to be added to fresh vegetable soups and it works great when mixed to ingredients like cannellini beans or Tuscan kale.
Serves: 4 / Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound farro
- 10 ounces organic cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
- 1 (5-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
- 8 fresh basil leaves, torn
- 2 ounces pitted Kalamata olives
- Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, toss in the farro and cook for 20 minutes, strain, and rinse with cold water, then set aside.
2Add the tomatoes to a bowl, add the mozzarella, rip the basil leaves with your hands, and add the olives.
3Drizzle with a good quality extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4Serve right away or cover and refrigerate for tomorrow’s picnic.
Notes: Make sure you only use superior grade mozzarella for this recipe. You are preparing a fresh salad, so stay away from the plastic-looking mozzarella cube they sell at your regular grocery, and find in your neighborhood an establishment that carries “the real deal”.