This is a grain salad that can be eaten hot or at room temperature; it’s equally delicious either way!
serves 3-4; active cooking time 20 minutes, total cooking time 45 minutes
- 1/2 pound green beans (preferably haricot verts), ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup farro
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 pound squid bodies, cleaned, cut into 1-inch rings
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- One (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt and the green beans. Cook until bright green and tender, three to five minutes. Drain in a colander and then immediately toss in a large bowl of ice water. When cool, drain again in the colander and dry on paper towels.
- Add farro to the empty medium saucepan and cover with 4 cups of cold water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes. When done, drain farro in a colander.
- With five minutes left for the farro, heat olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Season squid with salt and add to the skillet, spreading the rings out into one layer with a pair of tongs. Let cook without stirring for 30 seconds. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir well. Cook until squid are white but still tender, about 30 seconds and definitely no more than 1 minute. Add the white beans, stir well, and turn off the heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the green beans, farro, all the contents of the skillet, the lemon juice, and most of the parsley. Toss with a large spoon. Taste and season with more salt, if necessary.
- Serve immediately with a final sprinkling of the remaining parsley.
You’re going to need to become comfortable working with squid to make this dish. It’s most often available frozen at Whole Foods; I would recommend purchasing tubes only, and slicing them into uniform rings for more consistent cooking. It should be noted: when you are cooking with squid, time and consistency are very important. The procedures call for cooking the squid a MAXIMUM of one minute. Overcooked seafood is nobody’s friend.
Farro, the base of this salad, is a nutty, earthy grain, which is unfortunately still unfamiliar in most kitchens. Farro is second only to bulghur wheat on my very-real list of “favorite grains”. As a complex grain, it is very nutritious and filling (a factor called SATIETY), but it still adds flavor to a dish instead of just absorbing whatever it’s cooking in (#thoughtsandprayers for quinoa).
Speaking of nutritious and filling, let’s talk about those beans. Cannellini beans are easy to find i any grocery store amongst the other canned beans. The second type of bean in this salad is haricots vert, a.k.a. French-ified green beans, which are longer and skinnier than their American counterparts (of course). I’ve made this dish on different occasions with American instead of French green beans, and either will do justice to the salad overall. Haricots verts do lend themselves to fancier presentation, though.
This dish is affordable at $3.50 a serving, as long as you slice the squid and trim the green beans yourself. And while the squid and foreign grain base in this recipe may earn you some quizzical looks while you serve it, anyone who eats this salad is bound to be licking their bowls and asking for seconds!