Early spring has sprung and with it, all the wonderful seasonal vegetables. Cooks everywhere are excited to eat fresh asparagus, artichokes, peas, and ramps, just to name a few. This simple farro salad highlights these spring flavors without much effort, all you have to do is prepare the vegetables. This may be daunting but they all cook relatively quickly and you do not have to babysit the stove. You can prepare this salad early in the day and allow it to marinate throughout the day so that the flavors can mingle and marry.
Early Spring Vegetable and Farro Salad
1 cup farro
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for vegetables
6 spring onion bulbs
1 cup fresh spring peas*
1/2 pound pencil asparagus
2 cups arugula or other mixed greens
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Step 1: Heat vegetable stock and water in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Once simmering, add the farro, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, bay leaf and salt. Continue to cook the farro at a low simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water. Let farro cool, then discard bay leaves.
Step 2: Trim the leaves and prepare artichokes. You will only need the hearts for this recipe so feel free to snack on the leaves. Watch this video here if you are unsure how to do this. Fill a large pot filled with water and a lemon to help discourage browning. Cook the artichokes until tender.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the spring onion bulbs into quarters and then toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the onions for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they just begin to turn brown.
Step 4: Fill a pot with water and bring the liquid to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Bend the asparagus cuts it breaks at its natural point. Use this as a guide to trim the woody ends off the rest of the stalks. Cut the asparagus in half. Once the water is boiling, add a generous amount of salt. After about 90 seconds (this my vary depending on the thickness of your asparagus), add the peas and cook for another 90 seconds. Drain the vegetables and submerge them in ice water to preserve their green color.
Step 5: In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining lemon juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the farro in the dressing. Add the asparagus, peas, roasted spring onions, artichoke hearts and feta and toss again until combined. Serve the farro on a bed of arugula.
*Note: Depending on where you live, these seasonal eats may not be available just yet so feel free to substitute with other veggies or supermarket alternatives (e.g. marinated artichoke hearts or frozen peas).