Spring is coming and so are the greens!
The spring season calls for green on our plates, right? Fresh peas, hearty salad greens, and perfectly ripe asparagus will all be part of my meals this spring. Of the many dishes I enjoy using asparagus, the most frequently used recipe in our home is this simple asparagus grain salad.
You only need a few simple, staple ingredients and once you get the hang of the recipe you can substitute the vegetable for whatever is in season—butternut squash, tomatoes, zucchini, or whatever you have on hand.
This recipe calls for farro, one of my very favorite grains to use in place of rice. I first got hooked on farro in Italy, in a small town where a farro soup reigns as the dish of the region. A whole wheat grain with an elegant, nutty taste, farro is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E. Spelt, barley, wheat berries and farro may be used interchangeably, though I prefer farro, as it maintains a crunchy texture while still being soft after cooking.
Let’s get started making the salad!
First, assemble your ingredients.
In a medium saucepan, bring the four cups of water to a boil. Stir in the farro, bringing the water back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Then slice asparagus into 1 inch pieces, leaving the heads full. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil a wide pan. Sauté shallot and asparagus for about 5-7 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked to your preferred doneness.
Remove asparagus from the pan and set aside.
Deglaze the pan you cooked the asparagus in with the lemon juice, zest and extra two tablespoons of olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture and get any flavors off the pan. Add in the salt and pepper.
Set this sauce aside.
Once farro is done cooking, drain and rinse the grain. Toss with asparagus, pecans, and feta and then drizzle with the sauce on top.