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Farro Salad with Artichokes and Fennel

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Serves 8 to 10 as a side

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 117

Radicchio, fennel, cannellini beans, pine nuts, and artichoke hearts give this grain salad an Italian accent, and make it hearty enough to be a meatless main dish. It packs well, making it ideal for picnics or weekday lunches.

  • 3 cups semi-pearled farro
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup oil-packed artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup diced fennel (1/2-inch dice)
  • 1 cup shredded radicchio
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Rinse the farro under cold water and drain. Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a 4-quart pot over high heat. Add 3/4 tsp. salt. Add the farro, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding more boiling water as necessary to keep the farro covered, until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Drain and rinse the farro with cold water to stop the cooking.

Transfer the farro to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, and toss lightly to coat. Spread the farro on the baking sheet and cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Put the vinegar in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Whisk in the lemon zest and black olives Taste and season with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar or olive oil as needed.

Put the cooked and cooled farro in a large serving bowl and toss to break up any clumps. Add the artichokes, fennel, radicchio, cannellini, pine nuts, basil, and 1/2 cup vinaigrette and toss. Taste and season as needed with more vinaigrette, salt, and pepper. Serve or refrigerate for up to 1 day. If making ahead, let sit at room temperature so it’s not refrigerator-cold and season with more vinaigrette, salt, and pepper before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 390; Fat (g): fat g 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2.5; Protein (g): protein g 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 45; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 380; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 0; Fiber (g): fiber g 8;

Photo: Scott Phillips

An easy, make-ahead dish that's interesting and complex. The only farro I could find was regular, not semi-pearled, so I cooked it for an hour. And the artichoke hearts I used were marinated (though oil-packed are available from Amazon.com). I took this salad to share with classmates in my memoir-writing class, and several people asked for the recipe, but I think a smaller portion of farro would have been better. I'll definitely make this side dish again, next time there's a potluck, but I think I'll use only two cups of farro instead of three. This dish easily serves 20.

This salad was a wonderful addition to an end-of-summer barbecue. The only caveat is that the recipe makes a ton! I was planning for about 15 people, so I increased the recipe by about 1/3, and probably ended up with enough for about 25. Fortunately, it was so good that one guest took a bowlful home to serve at a family gathering, and I brought another container to a potluck meeting the next day.

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