Summer Steak & Farro Salad

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Y'all.  It is summer.  I know that Memorial Day is this weekend so in the very technical sense it will start on Monday, but today was sunny and hot and I ate breakfast on the front porch and then lay in bed some more, so I'm pretty sure it's officially summer.

What reminds you of summer?  For me it's the smell of chlorine, strawberry rhubarb pie, pasta with pesto that my mom makes tossed with tomatoes from our garden.  

I'm basking in the glory of the fact that I have three more weeks of long summer days filled with nothing but cooking meals like this salad, drinking white wine in the middle of the afternoon and baking muffins.  You know that list of things you want to do when you're not doing anything?  I'm in the middle of that list.  It feels good.  I'm re-learning how to read (or at least it feels that way).

I'm also in the middle of that intense pre-travel anxiety because really why would I want to leave the land of my beautiful home in Chapel Hill and snuggles with my roommate and the dog we're keeping as a fugitive in our home.  Isn't it odd that I have left and come back many times and it never stops making me feel a little bit heart broken every time? 

I hate to admit it but I'm always vaguely stressed to leave my homeland of cars and Trader Joe's and Target AKA basically where you can get whatever you want within 30 minutes of deciding you want it.  It's terrible and a great comfort.

I'm trying to figure out how to live in the moment.  I ate this salad with a bottle of wine with my mom and we sat on the porch and talked, and it felt like living in the moment.  

On Sunday, I was driving with my boo and we came across a mexican tienda with two large, smoking barbecue pits and we risked our lives by pulling the quickest u-turn and screeching into the parking lot.  I used my broken Spanish to inquire about whether or not they were actually selling what they were cooking (they were).  We drank beer and ate fresh corn tortillas stuffed with pork ribs and rice and beans and that felt like living in the moment.

I hope you feel like you're in the moment when you eat this salad.


  • 1 large flank steak, about 1.5 lbs
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 pound farro
  • 1.5 lbs asparagus
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • About 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup dry roasted pistachio nuts (shelled)
  • 4 oz goat cheese

Combine dry rub ingredients and coat flank steak in the rub.  Let sit in refrigerator at least one hour, or up to overnight.

Cook farro according to the directions on the package.  I prefer semi-pearled farro because it cooks faster and you don’t have to soak it.  Read the package before you buy it.  Once cooked, drain it and let cook.

Preheat oven to 425.  Coat asparagus with a few tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Roast for 12 minutes until tender but still crisp.   Do the same to the tomatoes, roasting for about 20 minutes.

Whisk together ¾ olive oil, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp honey, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix with farro and spread on a big platter.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it smokes, then place your steak in the pan and cook for 5 minutes.  Flip and cook the other side for 5 minutes, then rest off the heat for 10 minutes.  Slice against the grain and place on top of the farro.  Arrange everything on top of the farro and serve with red wine.  Alternately, just toss everything together and smash it into your face.