Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's a salad!

When I say that, I say in the voice of the Greek aunt on My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding when she presents the bunt cake and says, "It's a cake!" And then I think (every time, I swear!), "Man, I can't wait until my friend Aneta gets married someday" because it will be exactly like the movie, only in Serbian. She assures me the movie line is not far off from her real life and that makes me inexplicably happy, mostly for the amount of insanely amazing Serbian food I plan on eating. But I digress...

Where was I? Oh yes, salad. Delicious winter salads. Where did I get this wonderful idea, you ask? Sunset magazine, of course. I'll be honest, it's kind of like my version of porn. I fold certain pages over, and look at them again and again until they are unreadable. Sadly, I let my subscription expire and so now I'm just forced to read back issues. However, while I was home at Christmas break, I was sick almost the entire time and I moped around my parents house reading trashy novels and drinking tea and whiskey, and of course, their Sunset magazines. I would rip pages out here and there, mostly of recipes... and if you know my mother, you know she doesn't like vegetables so much...so I knew she'd be none the wiser to my pilfering of her Sunset pages of hearty winter salads. I've made half of them so far and every single one has been amazing.

The one I'm most in love with so far is the Farro, green olive and feta salad. It makes me swoon. I've altered it a bit, based on what's available on the range - the day I find a Meyer lemon up here I will truly be shocked. And maybe awed. So I used regular lemons. No big deal. I'll be honest, some of the best things I ever make come from having to substitute from what's on hand. I usually add a can of tuna to this recipe for some protein - just drain and add it in at the end. Also, I'm a bit obsessed with garlic-stuffed olives, so I use those from the Good Food Store and I am a bit heavy-handed with them. Just saying.

Farro, green olive and feta salad.
Serves 4-6 as a side, or 3ish as a main dish.

What you'll need

  • 1 cup farro wheat (soak in water overnight, or during the day while at work for extra-tender farro)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Meyer lemon zest (from about 4 lemons) (I used the zest of one lemon and it was plenty)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2/3 cup crumbled sheep's-milk or other creamy feta cheese
  • 2/3 cup mild green olives
  • Preparation
  • 1. Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil and stir in farro. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook farro until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool and dry a bit, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. Whisk oil, lemon juice and zest, pepper, and parsley together in a medium bowl. Stir in feta, olives, and cooked farro.

  • This goes spectacularly well with a nice, crisp white wine. I had it with a King Estate Pinot Gris (Oregon) the other night and it was delightful. Or champagne. Everything goes with champagne.

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