I do think Mediterrean is evocative of a certain type of cuisine though - it brings to mind ripe fruit and veggies straight from the garden with minimal preparation, a liberal use of olive oil in the dishes, rich yoghurt and cheeses, grilled foods, and bright, fresh herbal flavors like mint, parsley, basil, and dill.
It was a lovely dinner and there was a lot to celebrate - a birthday, new jobs, a graduation, an engagement, and several upcoming vacations. I made a Farro* salad. This salad came to mind as I thought about the different ingredients used that grow well near the Mediterranean, and which ones would complement each other. Once you cook the Farro this is pretty much an assembly line salad with minimal prep time.
Farro or Barley. I didn't label them after I bought them at the grocery store and they look astoundingly similar. If anyone has a trick to tell them apart, let me know. At the end of the day though, it doesn't matter which one you use in this salad.
Mediterranean Farro Salad
3 cups cooked Farro or Barley (I cooked my Farro using a 2 to 1 water to grain ratio with the lid on. If the water gets low and it still isn't cooked, just add more.)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup black pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup feta, crumbled (I usually buy Sheep's milk feta in a block. Pre-crumbled feta tends to be too dry and flavorless in my opinion)
1/3 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
fresh ground pepper
juice from half a lemon
- Cook the Farro and add the raisins, olives, feta, mint, and pistachios. Mix well.
- Add the juice from half a lemon and generous twist of pepper. My olives and feta were already salty so I didn't add add more but definitely adjust for your taste.