Monday, January 28, 2013

Farro Salad with Peas, Leeks and Pistachios

Farro Salad with Peas, Leeks and Pistachios

This salad caught my eye as I was perusing emails over tea one morning last summer. It comes from the Tasting Table chef series - a weekly email sent to subscribers {it's free} featuring a chef and one of his/her signature recipes. I tucked it away knowing two things: 1) I must make it and 2) it will be delicious. How could it not be? Nutty farro married with sweet blanched peas, salty pistachios and aromatic tarragon - all held together with a light layer of lemony yogurt dressing.  

Since it's winter, I picked up a 10 oz bag of organic frozen peas. When I started making the dish I realized the original recipe called for a whole pound of peas. I considered stopping and trekking back to the market but decided to forge ahead. It turns out the pea shortage was a happy accident - 10 oz was just the right quantity for my taste. Feedback from my husband was "please make this again".  And I can't wait to make this salad again - and use it as an inspiration in making new versions.  I am already thinking about making a batch with asparagus...

Farro Salad with Peas, Leeks and Pistachios

4 T olive oil
1 c farro
2 c water
2 t salt
1/2 c pistachios
1 leek, thinly sliced {white and light green parts only}
2 medium shallots, diced
1/4 c lowfat Greek yogurt
zest and juice of one lemon
freshly ground black pepper
10 oz frozen or fresh peas, blanched
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 T tarragon leaves, coarsely  chopped

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add 1 T of the olive oil. Add the farro and stir to coat. Continue stirring until the farro is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the water and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the farro is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve and spread the farro out on a baking sheet to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the pistachios on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until fragrant and toasted, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a medium skillet set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the leek and shallots and cook until the leek is tender, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with yogurt and lemon zest and juice. Season with pepper. Add the farro, leek-shallot mixture, peas, scallions, pistachios and tarragon and mix to combine. Season with pepper and serve.

Serves 4-6.

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Source:  Adapted from Ben Mauk, Birdhouse, Minneapolis

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