I’m going to get this out of the way right now: yes, this is one more summer salad recipe. Yes, I eat a LOT of salads in the summer because cooking in a hot kitchen is not my idea of fun. And is it ever a HOT summer over here (I’m loving it, actually). But before you ditch this post in search of something involving ice cream, you should know that this is one of the best salads I’ve made in a long time. I know, I’m one of those over-zealous types who can make exclamations over many things, but this salad freaking WOWED me. I made it on a sunny Sunday afternoon because I had a friend coming over for dinner. Well, not coming over expressly for dinner, but coming over to watch the final 5 episodes of Felicity.
Yes, Felicity, the ’90s show where everyone whispered, listened to the dulcet tones of Lilith Fair-style songs, and wore bulky cable knit sweaters.
We unabashedly watched the last 5 episodes on a sunny and gorgeous Sunday evening and this salad served as our physical comfort – Ben’s squinty baby blues took care of our emotional comfort, natch. There was also a bottle of Joie rosé which, if you’re curious, goes perfectly with the Ben-Noel conundrum (not that there’s much of an issue here, as it was Team Ben ALL THE WAY).
This is a bold and robust salad – full of flavour and bulk. Farro is the hearty grain here and it stands up beautifully to the Tuscan dark green kale. Cucumber, red pepper add a fresh crunch. There’s an abundance of fresh dill present. Go dill or go home I say!
Lemon juice and zest dress it all but the real magic comes from the Macedonian feta cheese. If you’ve never tried it before, go out and seek it out. It’s so different from the usual crumbly feta. Instead of feeling salty and crumbly, this feta is creamy and luscious. It came in a clear tub with a red lid (made by Krinos in Canada) sitting in liquid so I didn’t think it would be different from the feta I usually buy. How wrong that assumption was! This cheese feels more like creamy goat cheese than regular ol’ feta. It’s marvellous, so try and find some at your local grocer. And try it out in this salad. Of course, Plain Jane feta will be fine here too.
Anyway, I encourage you to give this salad a try. It’s wonderful, perfect for summer picnics and bouts of ’90s television.
kale and farro salad (with a heck of a lot of dill)
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 c farro
1 bunch of dinosaur (aka Tuscan) kale
1/2 english cucumber, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/4 small red onion, diced
1/3 c fresh dill, roughly chopped
juice & zest of 1 whole lemon
3 T olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
1/2 c creamy macedonian feta, cubed
Cook farro according to package directions, drain if necessary and cool.
Rinse kale and remove the tough ribs, roll the leaves together into a cigar shape and thinly slice. Add kale into a large serving bowl. Toss in the cucumber, red pepper, red onion and dill along with the lemon zest, juice and olive oil – and salt & pepper and feta – until everything is well coated. Let the salad rest for 30 minutes before serving. Keeps well for a day or two in the fridge.