Spring. Renewal. Rebirth. Fresh. Clean. Green. Chirping birds. Tulips. Blossoms. Sunshine… and only a little bit of rain. Those are my thoughts this morning as I share this recipe for my Minty Pea Farro Spring Salad with all of you.
Even though the month of April is half over already, the weather in Montreal has not been very spring-like! We were still experiencing those “wet flurries” here, up until just a few days ago. Seems like the snow is finally over, though, as the weather this weekend has truly been beautiful so far. I decided to make this Minty Pea Farro Spring Salad to celebrate these rising temperatures, and to shout out a big “Welcome!” to spring. (And incidentally, welcoming spring happens to be today’s Sunday Supper theme.)
The first thing you’ll probably notice about this Minty Pea Farro Spring Salad recipe is the use of farro (pronounced FAHR-oh). Once you get close and personal with this grain, you will quickly realize that it is extremely versatile: it can play a part in your breakfast bowls, in soups (I’m sure you’ve all heard of the infamous Tuscan Farro and Bean Soup), or in a risotto-style dish. Today, I’ll be using farro in this salad.
Farro is a hulled wheat grain and it is extremely popular in Northern Italy. It has its roots in Ancient Egypt and as a result it is often referred to as an ancient grain. Ancient only because it dates back to at least 10000 years ago. This particular strain goes by the name of emmer wheat, but in my circles it is referred to as farro. For those of you that are interested in the details of this grain, I would invite you to consult this definition.
When purchasing farro, you have a couple of choices:
Whole grain farro: The germ and the bran of the whole grain are intact, as a result, the grains need an overnight soak just to soften up the grain. It can take up to 60 minutes to cook. On the plus side, this will result in a higher fiber, protein and iron content when compared to either the pearled or semi-pearled.
Semi-pearled farro: Only part of the bran is removed and as a result will cook faster when compared to the whole grain (30-40 minutes). No soaking is required.
Pearled farro: The germ and the bran are completely removed and will result in the quickest cooking time (20-30 minutes). Once again, no soaking is required, but as was mentioned, the trade-off is the nutritional benefits of the farro.
If you’ve ever had farro, you know that it has a very distinctive nutty flavor and a texture which is similar to barley, but with a little bit more of a chew. I have chosen to combine this nutty flavored grain with crunchy peas and refreshing mint, two other foods that just scream out spring. You might have noticed I also sneaked in some asparagus, just because I love asparagus 🙂 This recipe for Minty Pea Farro Spring Salad comes together very easily once the farro is cooked.
Origins of the recipe for Minty Pea Farro Spring Salad:
When eating out in restaurants, I will always order farro when it’s on the menu. But truth be told, I had never made it at home. Not really sure why that was… perhaps the preconceived idea that it was a tricky grain to cook properly, until I learned from an expert…
A few years ago, my family and I were visiting my cousin Tina, who lives in the beautiful city of Arezzo in Tuscany. It was then that Tina showed me how to make farro, and then that I realized how quickly a salad like this could come together! I absolutely fell in love with all of the history and the character of Arezzo, by the way, and I will be forever grateful to my cousin for showing me how easy and truly versatile this wonderful grain can be. Thanks Tina!
Farro can easily be found in Italian specialty grocery stores in and around large cities or even online. I am told it is also available at Trader Joe’s.
Today’s Sunday supper theme is all about welcoming spring. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with this nutty tasting Minty Pea Farro Salad Recipe! I hope you like this and the other inspirational recipes on Sunday supper to welcome spring… enjoy!
- 1 cup farro
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch asparagus, steamed, cooled and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh shelled peas
- 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
- ½ cup cucumber, diced
- 4 small tomatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- ½-3/4 cup of mint vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra mint leaves for garnish
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.
- Stir in the farro, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the farro is al dente (time will vary from 30-60 minutes depending on the type of farro you have).
- Drain the water (if necessary) and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss together with the farro and allow to cool down.
- Toss together with the rest of the vegetables and herbs.
- Toss again with ½-3/4 cup of mint vinaigrette (recipe follows).
- Garnish with mint leaves.
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Combine the lemon juice and the mint leaves in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat.
- Allow to steep for at least 10 minutes.
- Strain in a small mixing bowl making sure to squeeze all the extract from the leaves (should yield about ¼ cup).
- Whisk all ingredients together with the infused lemon juice.
Thanks for dropping by.
Ciao for now!
One final thought about #SundaySupper…
Every Sunday, there is a wonderful group of bloggers called the #SundaySupper tastemakers that collaborate together on a theme. As was mentionned, today’s theme was Welcome Spring and I think you’ll agree the line-up of recipes is totally amazing!
If you have a chance you should really check out these great spring recipes contributed by these wonderful food bloggers.
Buona Domenica e Buon Appetito!
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement
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Plus Spring Vegetable Minestrone and more Spring Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement