July 19, 2009

farmer's salad

This is a salad I will crave forever and ever. It was so delicious and fresh and very aptly named because every ingredient (almost) came from our farmer's basket.

I cannot begin to explain the crunch and the freshness in every bite or the clean taste of each part which made up the delectable whole. Thankfully, I just upgraded my camera so that at least the photo is helpful in getting it across. While I didn't get a fancy new expensive 'profesh' kind of new camera (not the time for that kind of spending), it was a major upgrade, having gone from 4 megapixels to 10! And I think it shows.

I got the inspiration for this salad from something I saw in August issue of bon appétit. It was a chicken, green bean, corn and farro salad with goat cheese. I didn't have any goat cheese or farro (unfortunately, my supply from Italy had run out) so I substituted pearl barley and left out the cheese completely. It was not necessary at all and kept the salad crisp and healthy.

I had beautiful green onions and dark green celery from the farmers as well as gorgeous romano beans. The corn is not being harvested just yet at Long Hungry Creek Farm, so I found some local corn at the market from Delvin Farms. It was super sweet and creamy, the perfect accompaniment to all the greens. The barley added that extra depth of nutty flavor to the veggies and the chicken lifted it from a side to a main dish. It's important to only make this salad if you can use fresh, organic produce. It's summer, after all!

Farmer's salad

1/2 cup pearl barley, spelt berries or farro
8 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast
12 oz. green beans, cut into small pieces
2 cups fresh yellow corn
3/4 cup green onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
fresh herbs: marjoram, thyme, basil

for dressing:
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T minced shallots (or red onion)
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 t coarse salt
fresh ground pepper

All of the elements are cooked separately - Sautée the chicken in some olive oil in a skillet while boiling the corn, then blanche the green beans to al dente and cook the barley or farro in a pot of boiling, salted water. Drain and let everything cool to room temperature before mixing with the green onion, celery, fresh herbs and the dressing. Toss to coat evenly and serve with a crisp white wine like Viognier or Grüner Veltliner.

This will definitely be a my new farmer-fresh summer salad for parties, potlucks or just a weeknight dinner in one dish. Enjoy! And, remember to thank your farmers!


  1. thank you for the new camera - i can TASTE this salad from the photo! i hope my basket i get has all the ingredients so i can make this. i have always wanted to try farro...but i am a sucker for barley..yum

  2. Omg, that looks SO delicious! And I love the name!!!

  3. Gorgeous salad---this is what summer is all about! all the elements in one bowl for a perfect meal...

    where can we find farro?

  4. Nancy- it's hard to find farro in Nashville I'm learning. I usually bring it back with me from Italy when I go. Next time I will bring a LOT! ps: Bob's Red Mill brand would be the one to have it if it were available to them but I've checked and it's not. I am sure you could mail order it from some fancy on-line store But I wouldn't know about that. I'd rather buy it locally if I can!