lemon-scented chicken and farro salad
Remodeling. Anyone who’s been through a renovation will wince just reading these words. It’s uncomfortable. It’s dirty. It feels like it will never end. I mentioned a few weeks back that my parents, who recently retired, are embarking on a remodel of their house in the Florida Keys. Starting with the kitchen – gulp! So far, the tile floor was chipped away, the cabinets and appliances were removed.. The walls are down to the studs. During the planning stages, a kitchen overhaul is an exciting project. It is only when the demolition begins and there is no choice but to “tough it out,” does anyone really know what they’re getting into.
Here’s a glimpse of how Mom and Dad are managing: Without countertops there’s no prep areas — so they’re using a small round table and a cutting board in place of a countertop. Having no kitchen sink or dishwasher means using a paper towel to wipe down every fork, knife and dish — to remove every scrap of food before finally washing them in the bathroom sink. Since the stove and oven are gone, the gas grill has become their cooking station. Ever tried to make old-fashioned oatmeal on a grill? Fortunately the refrigerator is still hooked up — in the living room and paper plates are the new normal. At least the coffee pot is plugged in. These are minor inconveniences in the scope of things and in the end, it will all be worth it. Fingers Crossed!
We upgraded our kitchen a few years ago, so I know all about what “passes for a meal” when you’re under construction. When we visited Mom and Dad this weekend, I thought they might appreciate a homemade ready-to-eat meal.
This chicken and farro salad is packed with vegetables and herbs. It gets a salty bite from feta, capers and kalamata olives and the lemon vinaigrette adds a bright, tanginess. To make it even easier, I used a rotisserie chicken and cut the meat into chunks. We ate lunch on paper plates at the picnic table outside and imagined the new kitchen to come.
- breast meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned, diced into 1/2" chunks
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 english cucumber, sliced lengthwise and cut into thin half moons
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped into bite size chunks
- 1 cup farro, prepared according to manufacturers instructions
- 1 8-ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
- 1/2 c. seeded kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
- 2 T capers, drained
- 1 cup feta cheese, drained and cubed
- 1/2 cup fresh italian parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (optional)
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 T dijon mustard
- ~1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, or other wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- For salad: In a large bowl toss all salad ingredients together.
- For vinaigrette: Add the lemon juice to a glass measuring cup. Add enough vinegar to the lemon juice to equal 1/4 cup liquid. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until dressing is emulsified.
- Drizzle dressing over the chicken salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
- If you're not serving the salad immediately, wait to add the herbs just before serving for brighter, and fresher flavors.