Last weekend Alex and I left Owen with his grandparents and headed into Brooklyn for a barbecue. It felt so amazing to be back in our old neighborhood, surrounded by old friends. The backyard was strung with Christmas lights, there were mulberries falling everywhere, and the grill was loaded with fat spears of asparagus. Lots of people brought their babies, and while I would have loved to introduce Owen to everyone, I was more than happy to have the night off. I can’t remember the last time I went to a party without a toddler hanging around my knees–or worse, tearing through a not-quite-childproofed house. (People, you have to put your remotes on a shelf!)
When you go to a potluck-type party, what dish do you bring? I almost always bring a dessert. But the recipe I’ve been working on wasn’t quite perfect yet (stay tuned next week!), so this time I decided to bring a hearty grain salad instead. They are great for outdoor events because they don’t wilt or spoil. In fact, I think their flavor even improves as they sit and soak up all the delicious dressing.
This recipe is one I adapted from Cooking Light. The original calls for cherries, but as I was pitting them, and the juice was staining my hands so that I looked not unlike an axe murderer, I realized that if I mixed them into the salad they would definitely dye the entire thing a weird purplish red. Time to improvise. We happened to have a few ripe peaches, so I chopped those up and tossed them in instead.
Celery is a bit unexpected here, but I love the bright, crisp flavor it adds. Walnuts impart toasty crunch. And the maple-y whole grain mustard is oh so yummy. I may never go back to Dijon again.
- 1 1/2 cups farro
- 2 large, ripe peaches, diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 large celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the farro and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the farro to a large bowl and add the peaches, celery, walnuts, and parsley.
- Combine the lemon juice, maple syrup, and olive oil in a small jar with a lid (like an old jam jar). Season with salt and pepper. Seal the jar and give it a good shake.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and serve.