I was inspired to make a farro salad by a quirky show called, “Extra Virgin.” Debi Mazar’s husband, Gabriele Corcos, is a country boy from Tuscany, and this man can really put it down in the kitchen. Every week I watch, and I’m dazzled by his casual and rustic dishes. I adore my husband, and I wouldn’t want to change a thing (well, a few things, but I’m not perfect either…), but if Toby built a wood fired brick oven in the back yard, and made me 3-4 types of fresh pizza for my birthday, I’d have to say, “You go baby.”
For the record, I am not in love with Gabriele Corcos. I am in love with the idea of my man cooking for me. It would be so fierce for Toby to say, ”Nic, let’s go for a romantic picnic while Jake is in school. I’ll make a farro salad, rent a Ducati motorcycle, then we can swing by Joan’s on 3rd, pick out the most expensive cheese, olives and wine, and enjoy it with our homemade salad.” Of course, this is beyond ridiculous. The producers have paid for the Ducati, plus all of the extras from Joans, but I refuse to let my inner cynic blow the fantasy. A girl can dream, non?
I have made a few L.A. girl changes to the recipe: It’s now vegan (no dairy), I replaced vinegar with fresh lemon juice, and given it some bounce with the addition of colorful veggies. Please do not forget to throw in the grated lemon peel. It really lifts the salad, giving it an undeniably breezy, fresh flavor.
Vegan Farro Salad
4 cups cooked farro (soaked for 8 hours, then cooked 20-30 minutes)
1/4 cup quality olive oil, saving 2 tablespoons for cooking the vegetables.
2 cloves minced garlic
20 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
1 yellow squash, sliced thinly
1/2 cup chopped radicchio
1/4 cups chopped black olives
juice of a lemon
finely grated lemon peel from one lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a bowl, toss the farro with lemon juice, lemon peel, olive oil, and chopped olives.
2. Heat the olive oil and garlic, then saute the zucchini and yellow squash for a minute or two. Do not overcook until they are too soft. What you are looking for is a little bite in the vegetables. Let them cool, then toss into the salad. Season with salt and pepper and serve.