Spring Farro Salad, a.k.a.
F@$*!&% Alliteration Salad (you know, because of the farro, favas, fiddleheads, and feta). I definitely cheated here as far as local seasonality goes, but it’s close, and I just so want it to be spring! The fiddleheads are actually in season, and the snap peas and favas soon will be. If you’ve never had fiddleheads before, I hope you’ll try them. They are tightly curled fern fronds and one of the first veggies to emerge in spring—the flavor is delicate and a little like artichoke. I’m usually not a fan of cooking green things longer than necessary, but fiddleheads actually contain a mild toxin that is neutralized by the cooking process. Undercooked fiddleheads won’t kill you or anything, but they could cause stomach upset. Yikes!
Farro has been cropping up (no pun intended) more frequently on menus around the country, but if you’re not familiar, it’s a type of wheat. It’s available in pearled, semi-pearled, and whole varieties. I chose pearled here because
it was the cheapest package I could find it cooks the fastest, but if you’d like to use a different type, just boil longer (about 20 to 30 minutes for semi-pearled, and for whole, soak overnight and then boil 30 to 45 minutes). The times aren’t exact, just cook until no longer hard in the center, and chewy, not mushy.
You can make a lot of swaps and substitutions here if you like, depending on availability, allergies, preferences, etc. If you can’t find fiddleheads, use asparagus or artichokes (the asparagus will only need 2 minutes in the pot before heading into the ice bath), and if you’re gluten free/vegan use quinoa or rice instead of farro and/or sub in 1/4 cup chopped oil-cured Moroccan olives for the feta.
- 1 cup shelled fava beans (from about 12 oz. in pods)
- 1 cup fiddleheads
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup pearled farro
- 2/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup scallion, finely chopped (about one medium)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz. feta, crumbled
- Prepare an ice bath (i.e. put some ice cubes in a bowl of water), set aside. Boil lightly salted water in a medium pot, add shelled favas and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to ice bath. Keep that boiling water!
- Add fiddleheads to the pot, cook for 15 minutes. While the fiddle heads are cooking, peel the favas, set aside. Keep the ice bath, adding more ice. Remove fiddleheads with a slotted spoon and transfer to ice bath. Don’t toss the boiling water yet!
- Add farro to the pot, cook for about 20 minutes, or until pleasantly chewy. Transfer to a strainer (you can get rid of the boiling water now) and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the feta and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, crumble feta on top.