Lately I've been baking a LOT. I think this because life has been stressful and baking calms me down. Plus, I have been able to test possible recipes to make for the Food Blogger Bake Sale and I've been able bring lots of delicious treats to my coworkers. Contrary to popular belief, I do not bake every night. Next to fall, spring produce is my favorite and one of the tops is asparagus. I found this recipe last week and immediately sent it to Diana saying, I want to make this NOW! Well, a few days later, I did make it and it was great!! Lemon and asparagus go so well together as I pleasantly discovered last year.
I loved the combo of chewy farro and Israeli couscous (with a dash of Harvest grain mix thrown in), but I think next time I will up the ratio of farro to couscous. I made a few other changes. I used a regular lemon because I am out of the amazing Meyer lemons that Mary gave me, but now I have a ton of regular lemons courtesy of Raul. The original instructions said to cook the grains separately, but when you start cooking at 9pm, it's necessary to find ways to speed things up so I cooked them together with no problem. I added a few frozen peas for some extra green-ness and sweetness. This salad has tart, crunch, chew, and creaminess. It's pretty addictive and if you desire more protein, this is a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish. With way less oil than called for in the original recipe, this was a great light lunch that was perfect to keep me powered through the day. Expect to see many more grain salads like this in the very near future.
Lemon Scented Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Feta
(Adapted from The Kitchn)
Makes 2-3 servings
4 ounces uncooked farro
4 ounces uncooked pearl (Israeli) couscous
2 cups water
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, add the water and grains and a large pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the grains are tender and most of the water is absorbed. If there is extra water, drain in a colander.
Heat a little olive oil over medium heat, and cook the asparagus until just barely crisp-tender, about 1-2 minutes. Add the asparagus and peas to the grains and toss. Then toss in the toasted almonds, feta cheese and lemon zest.
Mix the lemon juice with a bit of olive oil (1-2 teaspoons), taste, and adjust. Pour over grain salad and toss, along with salt and pepper to taste.