The best salad of the summer: Farro salad recipe

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I just can't stop eating this. Once I discovered quick-cooking farro, it has gone into my summer menu regularly. I love its chewy texture and how well it goes with almost anything I want to throw into it.

Farro, an ancient species of wheat, is both nutty and chewy, and makes a substantial end-of-summer dish when you stir in snap peas, sweet corn, chickpeas and tomatoes. It can be confusing because the word farro actually refers to three different varieties of wheat (spelt, einkorn and emmer.) Luckily, when you shop, you will most likely encounter “pearled” or “instant” farro. The outer husk of the grain has been removed to shorten the cooking time, which can be extensive otherwise. Toasting it in a dry pan prior to cooking brings out its full flavor. This is a grain you will want in your repertoire all year round.

Toasted farro salad with summer vegetables
Serves 4

Salt, to taste
2 cups (6 ounces) sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
1 cup quick cooking (pearled) farro
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bay leaf
Pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels (from 2 ears cooked corn)
1/2 pint (about 15) cherry tomatoes, halved
2 handfuls baby arugula
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the snap peas and cook for 1 minute, or until bright green and tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer the peas to a colander and let run under cold water until cool. Drain and pat dry. Do not drain the water in the saucepan; return it to a simmer over medium heat.

2. In a dry saucepan over medium heat, stir the farro for 5 minutes, or until it darkens slightly and smells toasty.

3. Add the toasted farro to the saucepan of simmering water with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the bay leaf. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is tender. It should be pleasingly chewy. Drain in a large strainer and remove the bay leaf.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the warm farro and chickpeas and cool to room temperature. Add the corn kernels and cooked snap peas. At this point you can refrigerate the farro for up to 4 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

5. Just before serving stir in the tomatoes, arugula, radishes and almonds. Taste and add more salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice if you like.