Farro and roasted red pepper salad
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. Serves two to four.View Recipe
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.
Chermoula-basted halibut with farro
Farro is an old Italian wheat variety that's said to be the same as emmer or spelt, though I'm not so sure. It can be eaten by some people who are normally intolerant of wheat and is sold pearled or whole. Serves four.View Recipe
380g podded broad beans, fresh or frozen
4 halibut fillets, about 150g each
1 tbsp dried lime powder
5 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and black pepper
1½ tbsp picked dill
4 lemon wedges, to serve
For the chermoula:
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp dried lime powder
1 small garlic, crushed
2 tsp finely chopped preserved lemon skin
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2½ tbsp olive oil
Simmer the farro in plenty of water for 20 minutes to an hour – the cooking time will depend on the brand; you want it tender with just a little bite. Drain and set aside.
Cook the broad beans in salted boiling water for two minutes, drain, refresh under cold water, then remove and discard the skins.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Mix the chermoula ingredients and season well. Put the fish in a heatproof dish or oven tray lined with baking paper, brush with the chermoula, and roast for eight to 10 minutes, until just done.
Mix the farro, beans, Iranian lime, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium pan, heat up gently and divide among four plates. Top with the fish, garnish with dill and serve with a lemon wedge