Some time ago, I mentioned being smitten with a salad I'd made. Then December was upon us, and I had cookies much more on the brain than salad. Now that we are solidly in post-holiday winter, I'm ready to share it here. The key to this dish is having plenty of time...about 2 1/2 hours all told. Active time is around 20 minutes, and some minding.
I made this for the first time on Thanksgiving. I have a bad habit of making new recipes for the first time on major holidays and for dinner parties; I can't seem to stop myself. The results of this behavior have occasionally been embarrassing, sometimes due to my error, sometimes because the concept of the dish looked better than the reality. Happily for everyone present, this turned out to be fantastically delicious.
Farro is a wheat grain reminiscent of barley in appearance, with a slightly sweet, slightly nutty flavor. I love it.
Farro Salad with Oven-Roasted Grapes and Greens
adapted slightly from Martha Stewart Living, November 2010
3 cups seedless red grapes (about 1 pound), halved crosswise
1/4 cup best-quality grape juice
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small red onions, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
4 cups mixed small greens such as baby kale, baby swiss chard, red mustard, red mizuna
1. Preheat oven to 250F. Arrange the grape halves in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bake until the grapes have shrunk to about half their size but are still juicy, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
2. While the grapes bake, place the farro in a medium sized bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for 30 minutes, then drain.
3. Combine the drained farro, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan; cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onions and remaining tablespoon rosemary for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the onions are golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Flip the onions, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, flipping, until the onions are tender and browned on both sides, about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Pour the mixture and the grape juice over the farro; toss. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a little bit of pepper. Let stand for 20 minutes.
4. Gently stir in greens just before serving. Arrange the salad on a platter.