Grandpa would have been 100 this past fourth of July. He died just a few weeks short of his 99th birthday last summer.
We celebrated in the same way we’ve done my entire life, fireworks and a table full of food meant for grazing on all day long. The only difference was there was no birthday cake. Ivy and I did bring a no-bake cheesecake tart decorated with berries to look like an American flag. Grandma would have loved it.
I also brought this salad. It’s hearty and simple and yet each bite is fragrant, floral and fresh. Nestled in a large ceramic bowl with creamy unsweetened yogurt as the base this salad sat on the table next to two Snicker Salads. One my son, Baron, made because he feared we would run out of this classic. The other my aunt made because she always does. It’s snickers, green apples, pudding, and cool whip. Also, it’s important that you know that it is not a dessert. It is most definitely served right along side the hot dogs and hamburgers.
Food is so funny in that way. Because of tradition I have an affinity towards store bought birthday cake, Lay’s potato chips and a salad of pudding and whipped topping. I crave those tastes and the flood of memories that come with them. I also crave the bright pungent hit of preserved lemon, set alongside sweet dates and tart raw rhubarb. I eat both this farro salad and snickers salad with deep joy and no shame.
One is perhaps better for my body and the others, well on a day when you wished nothing more than to be celebrating your grandparents with them there, the other foods were for my heart. And sometimes that is okay too.
Farro Salad with Preserved Lemon, Rhubarb and Yogurt
Yield 6 - 8 servings
This salad was inspired by one eaten and enjoyed at Vif here in Seattle.
I feel in love with the tart crunch of raw rhubarb. It is perfectly suited with the sweetness from the dates. Large leaves of mint may seem a daunting bite but I assure you they are everything in this salad.
8 ounces Italian pearled farro, cooked until tender in salted water (3 cups cooked)
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 slender rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pitted, chopped Medjool dates
1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 cups arugula
1 pint whole milk Greek yogurt
In a large bowl combine the farro, scallions, rhubarb, dates, preserved lemon, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir until well combine.
This can stay refrigerated for up to three days.
Just before serving toss with the mint and arugula. Taste and finish with flake salt.
Smear the yogurt on the base of the serving bowl or platter then top with the salad.
This salad looks wonderful and I really love your words honoring foods that are tradition and eating for your heart. A gentle but powerful reminder to remain flexible on our health journeys. Thank you!
Love this writing Ashley. I feel the same way about date squares, homemade oatmeal cookies and endless cups of tea.. reminds me of my incredible maternal grandmother when I miss her.