Composed of whole grains and seasonal vegetables and herbs, cool grain salads make a satisfying lunch, picnic, or side dish. We could probably subsist on them all spring and summer long! Here's a brilliantly fresh version with chewy farro, English peas, and sweet leeks, all tied together with a yogurt-lemon dressing.
Use fresh peas and tender baby leeks if available; otherwise, substitute frozen peas and a grown-up leek. The recipe also calls for tarragon, which has a subtle anise flavor that goes well with the peas and leeks. If you don't like tarragon, try fresh mint or thyme.
Farro Salad With Peas and Leeks
serves 4 to 6
1 cup farro, soaked for one hour in water to cover and drained 2 cups water Salt 2 baby leeks (or 1 regular leek), white and light green parts only 1 pound peas, shelled (or 1 cup frozen peas) 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt Juice of half a lemon Freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped tarragon leaves
Cook and cool farro: Combine farro, 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain farro and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
Prepare leeks: Meanwhile, clean the leeks, slice them in half lengthwise, and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Sauté in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft.
Blanch peas: Have ready a bowl of ice water and a slotted spoon. Bring a pan of water to boil over high heat. Add a tablespoon of salt and the peas and boil just until bright green, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Quickly remove the peas with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice bath to cool.
Assemble salad: In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, yogurt, lemon juice, and a few cracks of black pepper. Add the farro, leeks, peas, and tarragon and toss to combine. Season to taste and serve immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator.