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Watercress, Shrimp and Farro Salad

Jun 17, 2008 by Gabriele Corcos

Italian salad succumbs to our many regional menus.
Yes, our cooking is seasonal, and we always enjoy a good amount of vegetables with our meal, but in general, if you happen to be traveling around Italy, you will come across only one kind of salad…what we called Insalata Mista (mixed salad). It is mainly some greens, a bit of carrot, a slice of onion and a couple of slices of tomato. This is probably why we waited so long before getting inspired to create something a little bit more…a dish that stands by itself; not a side dish, but a light lunch. Two quick things need to be said about this recipe,
– The Dressing: we mentioned in the video that we were going to prepare two different kind of dressings, one being the lemon/mint one… and the other one? Well, we forgot about it. It was our intention to tell you how in Italy it always is about the Olive Oil, Vinegar (not always balsamic), Salt and Pepper….and make clear that fancy salad dressing are not really part of the Tuscan Repertoire.
– The Farro (Emmer Wheat): it is very hard to find in your local store, and when you come across it you are tempted to invest that kind of money on a steak…Your best bet is the internet, if you would like to try it! Even without the Farro, this salad is a filling healthy dish, you just need to be more generous with the other ingredients. And please, do not mind Deborah, she always calls it Buck Wheat…it is not!


Serves: 4 Prep time: 10 minutes  / Cook time: 1  hour 5 minutes

  • 1 Lb. fresh shrimp, shells removed, deveined, and thoroughly washed
  • 4 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for serving
  • ¼ Cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 15 Oz cannellini beans, drained and washed
  • ½ Cup Farro (Emmer Wheat)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Bunch of Watercress
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1Soak the Farro in warm water for about 30 minutes.

2Rinse well, and pour in 4 cups of boiling water, lower the flame and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, put it in a bowl, sptinkle about 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil and stir well. Let it sit and cool off.

3Take the Cannellini beans out of the can and rinse them well into a strainer. Wash well the Shrimps and the Watercress.

4Squeeze the lemon and remove all the pits.

5Lay the Shrimps in a large oven pan, season with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and the juice of the Lime.

6Broil for about 5 minutes, stirring it once; then move the Shrimps to a plate to cool off…Shrimps in a salad should not be too hot, or cold…time yourself well!

7Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or prepare individual plates. Remember, arranging your plates should be a fun, creative moment…do not feel pressured about the look of the plate. If you are enthusiastic about cooking, designing a plate should come naturally…Have Fun.

The Salad Dressing

1Use a small food processor to mix 4 Tbsp of Olive Oil, the squeezed lemon, the Mint, Salt and Pepper. You can dress the salad before serving it or place the dressing in a little bowl with a sauce spoon.

Thanks for coming back to visit us,
Buon Appetito!
Debi and Gabriele

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