2 to 3 fennel bulbs (about 1¼ pounds without fronds), halved lengthwise, cored and sliced ½-inch thick (about 3 cups)
4 thyme sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 cup pearled or semi-pearled farro
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, plus more to taste
⅛ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed
1 cup mixed herbs, such as parsley, dill, cilantro and mint
½ cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives
¼ cup thinly sliced pitted dates
3 scallions, thinly sliced
⅓ cup crumbled feta (optional)
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed sheet pan, combine fennel, thyme, a large pinch of salt and black pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil, and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer. Roast until golden brown and tender, 20 to 30 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes. Discard thyme.
While fennel is roasting, make the farro: In a medium pot of salted boiling water, add farro and bay leaf. Cover and cook until tender according to the package directions, usually 10 to 25 minutes. Drain, discarding bay leaf, and pour farro into a large bowl.
Grate about ¼ teaspoon zest from the orange into the bowl with the warm farro, then halve the fruit and squeeze in the juice. Stir in remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, vinegar and ¾ teaspoon salt. Taste and add more salt, vinegar or grated orange zest if you like.
Add roasted fennel and red-pepper flakes, and toss to combine. Stir in herbs, olives, dates and scallions. Mix in feta, if using, and almonds right before serving. Taste and add more salt or vinegar, and a little more olive oil for added richness if you’d like.