Zucchini, Chicken and Farro Salad with Saffron Vinaigrette

, from Issue #34. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Zucchini, Chicken and Farro Salad with Saffron Vinaigrette

Serves: 6-8


Saffron vinaigrette
¼ cup lemon juice
pinch of saffron threads
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
½ cup olive oil
1-2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1½ cups farro or pearl barley, rinsed and drained
6 boneless, skin on chicken thighs
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
500 grams zucchini, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 quarters preserved lemon
½ cup walnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup basil leaves


Vinaigrette: Put the lemon juice, saffron and smoked paprika in a small saucepan over a low heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and season.

Salad: Cook the farro or barley in plenty of boiling salted water until tender, stirring occasionally. The farro will still have a chewy texture when cooked. Drain then rinse in a little hot water to remove the excess starch. Drain well and combine with the dressing while still hot. Set aside to cool, giving it an occasional stir.

Brush the chicken with olive oil, season and cook on a pre-heated ridged grill or in a sauté pan until golden and fully cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely and leave for 15 minutes.

Brush the zucchini with olive oil and season. Grill both sides until just cooked through but still with some bite. Cool.

To assemble: Scrape the soft inner flesh from the preserved lemon rind and discard. Finely slice the rind and toss most of it through the farro with most of the preserved lemon, walnuts, spring onions and basil, reserving the rest for garnish. Transfer to a serving platter. Slice the chicken and zucchini on the diagonal and arrange over the salad. Drizzle over any meat resting juices and scatter with the reserved ingredients. 

Cook’s tip: The farro can be cooked and combined with the dressing two days ahead. Cover and refrigerate but bring back to room temperature before assembling with the remaining ingredients.