A Salad for Spring

Photo: qwrrty/Flickr

Spring creeps up on you. In New England, it’s not unusual to have a raw, cloudy 39-degree day followed by one with pure sun, blue skies and temperatures that soars to 86 degrees. It flip flops this way throughout the season—teasing you with glimpses of good times to come.

As soon as the sun gets serious so does my will to be outdoors more, get the garden planted and start eating more vegetables. Spring demands that I raise my healthy food consciousness. And after a winter of soups and stews and too much meat, I am more than happy to succumb.

I was rummaging around the kitchen yesterday and found some farro—a nutty whole grain that is simple to cook — and root vegetables from the last winter farmers market. I also grabbed a few asparagus and chives and leeks (that miraculously wintered over) from the garden. Look left.

I call this my “Ode to the End of Winter Salad.”

You can use virtually any vegetable you have on hand in this salad, as farro is very adaptable. You can also add cubed feta cheese. (Recipe after the jump.)

Spring Farro Salad

Spring Farro Salad (photo: Kathy Gunst)

Ode to the End of Winter Salad

8 ounces farro
4 asparagus cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 leeks, cut lengthwise and into 1 inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
3 scallions, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of of large lemon
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
1 clove finely chopped garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place a medium pot of lightly salted to boil.

Place the asparagus, parsnip, leeks, and 6 cloves of garlic, scallions, and half the oil in a medium roasting pan or ovenproof skillet. Season with salt and pepper and toss well to make sure all the vegetables are coated with the oil and seasonings. Roast on the middle shelf for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently until the vegetables are tender.

Cook the farro in the boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cooked through but the grain still has a nutty bite. Drain.

Place the farro in a serving bowl. Toss with the remaining oil, lemon juice, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and dill. Add the hot roasted vegetables and any oil from the bottom of the roasting pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.