“I inherited the cold pea salad when I got to Icebergs, but it didn’t have farro then,” says Monty Koludrovic, the executive chef at Sydney restaurant Icebergs. “We wanted to make it a little bit heartier, but it’s a nice healthy carb, so people don’t have to get fries. It’s always been popular, so we don’t take it off the menu. We tweak it maybe twice a year and people just keep loving it. I don’t think people eat a lot of cold peas, so they find it quite refreshing.”
Unlike pasta, which can race past al dente if left unattended, farro (dried wheat) is hardy and forgiving of inattentive cooks. “If you like it bitey, take it off the heat a bit earlier. But if you want it softer, just keep it going,” Koludrovic says.
Icebergs’ pea and farro salad
Preparation time: 40 minutes
1 cup farro
1½ cups cooked peas
5 leaves basil, chopped
5 leaves mint, chopped
1 shallot, finely diced
½ Lebanese cucumber, diced
½ stick celery, diced
25ml vinaigrette (see ingredients below)
Salt and pepper to taste
25ml lemon juice
35ml sherry vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
¾ tsp salt
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
Ricotta salata (salted ricotta) to serve
Cook the farro in plenty of lightly salted water for 20–30 minutes or as per the packet instructions. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and lemon juice and then the oil. Do not emulsify.
Combine the herbs, peas, farro, cucumber, celery, shallot seasoning and 25ml vinaigrette. Place the dressed salad in bowl, coat with a fine grating of salted ricotta and serve. Store excess vinaigrette in the fridge for up to 1 week.
This is an extract from The Broadsheet Italian Cookbook, which contains 80 recipes from Australia’s best restaurants, cafes and bars.