Try this tasty farro salad. I’ve been eating more grains this year and I’ve always had a soft-spot for farro, an Italian grain related to spelt. I love its chewiness and in this salad, coupled with black olives, carrots and fennel, it takes on an even more rustic flavor. I often serve a split roasted cornish hen on top of this salad–makes it look like a bird’s nest, especially with the shards of jagged carrots sticking out.   Served as a side, there’s usually plenty of leftovers, perfect to take to work for several midweek lunches.

Not a very inspired post today but neither is this gloomy weather. Nor are the farmers’ markets right now. Sad that the weather today feels like spring and yet it’s only late January.

Farro Salad with Fennel, Black Olives and Carrots
Gourmet Magazine
Serves 8

1 lb farro (2 3/4 cups)
3 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth (24 fl oz)
2 cups water
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large fennel bulb (1 lb; sometimes labeled “anise”), stalks discarded and bulb cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives (3 oz), quartered
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 lb carrots (about 5 medium)
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cover farro with cold water in a bowl and soak 30 minutes, then drain in a colander.

Bring farro, stock, and water (2 cups) to a boil in a 4-quart heavy pot, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until farro is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in colander.

While farro cooks, mince garlic and mash to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt using a large heavy knife. Transfer to a large bowl and add fennel, olives, oil, vinegar, pepper, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt.

Cut carrots into 3/4-inch-thick long diagonal slices with slicer, then, using a knife, cut slices into 3/4-inch-thick matchsticks. Add carrots to fennel mixture along with drained farro and parsley, tossing to combine well.