Discover more from Anchovy Trove
Make This Snappy Salad All Spring Long
Snap, chew, and zing all make appearances
Awhile back, I posted a very basic green salad on Instagram (butter lettuce, lots of chives, creme fraiche vin) that was framed as a somewhat lazy way to make a nice, bright appetizer when all you have is a supermarket in winter. Well, it’s (allegedly) spring now, so I figure it’s time to update that premise: a verdant dish that makes use of all the crisp spring produce you can easily find without any fuss, especially when the greenmarket hasn’t yet reached “bountiful” status. Enter this sugar snap and farro salad.
Sugar snaps are usually available in most supermarkets, and they’re relatively resistant to the wilting or blemishing that besets many other grocery store vegetables; peas, also featured here, can be bought frozen at still-great quality. Any manner of green herbs will do, although I think mint is required — it pairs fantastically well with Pecorino and lemon. Farro and chopped pistachios bulk things up into a more substantial dish, with the farro providing a nice chew that complements the snappiness of the peas and pods. And finally, while you can get creative with the dressing — any kind of mustardy vinaigrette would be great, or even a bit of green goddess — I find that a simple Italianate use of lemon and olive oil gives this salad the light, carefree attitude that the season demands. (Also: Pecorino Romano is non-negotiable!)
From there you can swap in all sorts of spring-y additions as you like: ramps, green garlic, asparagus, favas, etc. This is really just a suggested base for a light-yet-hearty salad that can mutate as the season progresses.
Sugar Snap and Farro Salad, with Pistachios, Lemon and Pecorino
Sugar snap peas (as many as you’d like, but at least 1 cup)
1/2 cup farro, rinsed
1 cup English peas
Mint, roughly sliced into ribbons
Dill, chopped finely
2 lemon wedges
Pecorino Romano cheese
Handful of pistachios, roughly chopped
Handful of Castelvetrano olives, roughly torn
Cracked black peppercorns
High-quality extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the farro as you would cook pasta: bring a pot of approx. 3 cups of water to a boil, salt the water generously, and cook the rinsed farro for 15-20 minutes, or until it is pleasantly chewy and not too soft. Rinse the farro in cold water until it’s not longer hot, pat dry, and set aside.
In a small saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the peas and sugar snaps. The peas should cook for approx. 4 minutes if they’re fresh, a bit longer if they’re frozen and unthawed. However, test them as you go and remove from the water once they are bright green, slightly soft but still snappy, and not yet wrinkled. Rinse with cold water or deposit in ice water. Blanch the sugar snaps in boiling water for roughly 3 minutes, then remove and chill in cold water.
Slice the sugar snaps in half on a diagonal bias.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar snaps, peas, dried farro, herbs, pistachios, and olives. Add a generous amount of olive oil and the juice of two lemon wedges. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss.
Lastly, shave some Pecorino into the bowl with a vegetable peeler and lightly toss once more. Plate and garnish with olive oil, some additional grated Pecorino, flaky salt and/or lemon zest.