PANZANELLA DI FARRO IS A PLAYFUL SPIN on Panzanella, a classic Tuscan bargain meal that makes use of stale bread. This version, from Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2009), by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox, uses farro, an ancient grain with a wheaty nutty flavor, available online and in health food and gourmet and Italian specialty stores. If you can’t find it, try barley instead.
Purslane, a wild green with a slight lemon flavor, is traditional in the Mediterranean, and is available at farmers’ markets in the late summer. Until then, you can use arugula, which is equally delicious.
8 ounces purslane or arugula, thick stems discarded
1 pint farmstand cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered if large
1 medium cucumber, peeled if thick-skinned, halved, then sliced thinly on the bias into long half-moons
5 radishes, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup farro
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
coarsely ground black pepper
1. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.
2. Toss together purslane, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, and scallions in a large bowl. Add oil, vinegar, and salt, and toss just to combine.
3. Add farro to boiling water and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and spread on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
4. Add cooled farro and basil leaves to vegetable mixture; toss just to combine. Pepper to taste, toss again, and serve.
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