Emmer farro is an ancient heirloom grain. It looks similar to bulgur wheat or a wheat berry, and it has a nice nutty texture. I like to buy the Bluebird Grain Farms brand, which is grown in Washington state’s Methow Valley.
It makes a good side dish on its own, served as you would rice or wheat berries, but I like to dress it up more like a pilaf or salad.
Here’s how I prepared it to serve at a late-spring barbecue with friends, where I also served Halibut with Chermoula Sauce, Savory Galette with Arugula Pesto, and Asparagus-Snap Pea-Edamame Salad. As you can see in the photo above, I mixed this dish directly in the pot that I used to cook the farro so as not to dirty another dish.
Emmer Farro Pilaf
1 cup emmer farro
5-6 cups water
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ cup dried cherries
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
½ cup chopped parsley
½ orange, zested
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons blood orange vinegar*
Salt and pepper to taste
While farro is cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients. Once the farro is drained and has cooled to nearly room temperature, toss in the toasted almonds, dried cherries, sliced onions, chopped parsley, orange zest, grapeseed oil and vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
* Note: If you can’t find blood orange vinegar, you can substitute red raspberry or white wine vinegar. I’ve also found a nice orange muscat vinegar at Trader Joe’s that would work well too.