This ancient variety of wheat, when accompanied by shamelessly bold flavours, has a unique nuttiness and a great texture. It deserves its healthy credentials, too, because some people who are intolerant to wheat can eat farro. Farro is sold whole, semi-pearled, pearled, which determines the time it will take to cook (anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour). When done, it should be tender but retain a real bite. If you can't get farro, use pearl barley and you'll still end up with a highly satisfying result. Thanks to Claudine Boulstridge.
2 red peppers
10 marinated pitted black olives, quartered lengthways
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or picked thyme leaves)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
100g feta, broken into large chunks
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 medium lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp smoked paprika, plus extra
½ garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp fine sea salt
- Put the farro in a pot of boiling water and simmer until just tender. Strain, refresh and leave to dry.
- Meanwhile, prepare the peppers. Cut around the stalk of each pepper and lift it out with seeds attached. Put the peppers on an oven tray, place under a very hot grill and char, turning every now and then, until totally black on the outside (this will take 30 minutes or more). Remove from the oven and cover the tray with foil. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and tear the flesh into 1cm wide strips.
- Whisk all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Put the farro in a big bowl and add the peppers, olives, oregano, spring onion and most of the feta. Pour over the dressing and gently mix together. Taste, and add more salt if you like. To serve, pile up the salad on a plate or in a bowl, and finish with the remaining feta and a sprinkling of paprika.