Summer is finally here, this time it’s for real and that calls for one thing: salads! No, I’m kidding, summer in Sweden equals barbeque. Only when it’s sunny and warm, though. Salads are the alternative for those days when you’d rather eat in. Or, a nice side dish to your hot dog when you’re still in the mood for salad on those nice summer evenings. A nicely balanced salad that alone can work as a proper meal is one that features some nice grains as well as some protein to go with the veggies.
My all-time favourite cold dish is rice salad, which can be pretty basic when shopping on a budget, and still end up being a healthy and nutritious meal. Actually, in my poorest student days rice salad was a solid staple in our student apartment. Boiled rice, pickled vegetables, canned tuna and we would feed ourselves for days. This time I picked another grain and another fish but the concept is still pretty much the same. Farro salad with baked cod, peas and feta:
- 180 g farro
- 150 g peas
- 120 g feta
- 2 cod fillets (about 100 g each)
- 1/2 lime
- 2 tbsp olive oil
First off, prepare the fish. This is basic. Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking pan with aluminium. Lay the two fillets on the alluminium and season them with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Then squeeze some lime juice over them (just don’t use it all). Want to go for something a bit more than just basic? Add some herbs or a nice fish rub. Bake the fish at 220°C for about 25 minutes.
In the meantime take care of the grains. This was the first time I was using farro ever (I know, I know, I’m ashamed, okay?) so I followed the instructions and learned that no prior soaking was needed! All there was to do was to add the farro to a pot with cold water, bring it to boil and let it cook for 15-20 minutes in boiling water. When the farro is cooked and soft, drain and rinse under cold water to lower its temperature, and add to a serving bowl. Then add the peas (I used frozen peas that I had cooked in another bowl, but canned will also do) and the feta, diced. Season the salad with salt, pepper, 1 tbsp of olive oil and the rest of the lime juice. I recommend seasoning before adding the fish, as the fish is already quite flavoured itself.
When the fish is baked, shred it to pieces. I let it cool for only 15 minutes and added it to the salad warm, as I liked the idea of having one ingredient hot, so that the whole salad would not be entirely cold.I think I brought back this package of farro when I visited Rome two years ago and I have never used it. Now it was close to its expiry date (after two years it was about time) so I had to come up with something and experiment. This whole salad is the result of random rummaging through freezer and pantry in search for interesting food pairings without the need to go grocery shopping. I try to limit my visits to the supermarket in order to cut back on my food expenses and plan to visit the supermarket only when I finish my milk and fresh veggie supply. With the exception of the feta (which still lasts pretty long, considering it’s a white cheese) everything else is stuff I had at home for a long time – the fish and peas being frozen. The bowl featured in this photoshoot is a gift from the talented lady behind Studio Kurbitz. Life has strange ways of making us cross paths with interesting creative people, and she is definitely one of them.