Chopped Herb Salad with Farro / by Cynthia Raub

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California's El Niño dreams have been realized this winter. The rains that have drenched our drought stricken area have been numerous and plentiful. But in true California fashion, in between the blustery storm systems, we also had gorgeous clear days in the 70s! My husband has been telling me for years that he has SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Like the amazing wife that I am, I laughed and teased him because I thought he was being dramatic. But this winter has brought out the SAD in me. As soon as a week of gray skies and heavy showers passed, the sun shone and warmed everything - including my cold, cold heart. This sunny and bright herb-heavy side dish was a welcome relief from the chilly cold days. My husband aptly described it as, "preposterously herbaceous" and he is right (again??). Martha Rose Shulman of the venerable NYT Cooking Magazine, a.k.a. my spirit animal, named it a Chopped Herb Salad with Farro for a reason- the farro adds a savory chew but it's by far not the star of the dish. It was such a light and satisfying accompaniment to Amy's succulent Roasted Chicken Legs with Smoked Paprika, Blood Orange and Honey.

Notes: I followed this recipe to the T and made no changes to the ingredients or preparation. If you are not convinced that the strong and fragrant herbs make an incredible salad base, I wouldn't judge you for adding more grains to suit your preferences. 

Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 2 large bunches)
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup chopped arugula or a mix of arugula and other herbs
¾ pound (2 large) ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 cup cooked farro or spelt
1 teaspoon ground sumac
 Juice of 1 to 2 large lemons, to taste
 Salt to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine parsley, mint, arugula and/or other herbs, tomatoes, scallions, farro, sumac, lemon juice and salt to taste. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours so the farro marinates in the lemon juice.
Add olive oil, toss together, taste and adjust seasonings. The salad should taste lemony. Add more lemon juice if it doesn’t. 

Recipe from: NYT Cooking Magazine