Monday, February 21, 2011

Farro Salad with Roasted Red Grapes, Kale and Swiss Chard

All images © Valery Rizzo

One of my very favorite places to shop for produce without a doubt is the Park Slope Food Coop. Actually, most of my inspiration comes from just browsing all the beautiful and interesting items they carry. Now your either a coop person or not, to be a coop nut or not? I am proudly a nut! Personally I think food coops are a necessity given the scary ways food is produced in this country. In Brooklyn, coops are popping up all over, in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bushwick, Bay Ridge, Lefferts and Flatbush, most of them in start up mode. Where else can you find a group of people collectively ecstatic over how beautiful the kale looks that day? It’s true, as I stood staring in awe of how unusually gorgeous the kale was that morning, a woman stopped and looked at me and said “wow how beautiful the kale looks today”, she exclaimed in amazement and then a man also stopped as she turned to him to repeat “ doesn’t the kale look beautiful today?” I admit it was a funny moment. So I needed to make something with that extraordinary kale.

I had always been curious about farro and how to make it. Farro is a grain and although some people choose to soak theirs, it is basically prepared similarly to brown rice and cooked until it’s soft but crunchy. Inspired by a recipe from Martha Stewart Living which I then improvised, the grain is cooked with rosemary and tossed with oven roasted red grapes, red onions, kale, swiss chard, olive oil, coarse ground pepper and sea salt. So yummy, nutty and good for you.

3   cups seedless red grapes (about 1 pound)

8   ounces farro  (about 1 ½ cups)

2    tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil

2   small red onions, chopped 

1   tablespoon red wine vinegar

4   cups mixed kale, swiss chard and other baby greens of choice

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1.  preheat oven to 250°. Cut  grapes in half and lay in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoons salt. Bake until grapes have shrunk to about half their size but are still juicy, about 1 hour and 30 min. Let cool.

2. Combine farro, 1 tablespoon rosemary and 1 ½ teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan. Cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 25 min.  Drain if necessary and transfer to a bowl.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions and remaining tablespoon of rosemary for 2 min. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until onions are golden brown.  Add 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt, cook, flipping until onions are tender and browned on both sides, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour mixture over Farro, toss.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir in red grapes. Let stand for 20 min. Gently stir in kale, swiss chard and other greens just before serving, plate and enjoy!


  1. When I cook from scratch the most important part of a dish (besides taste and smell) is the appeal! Colors captured here make the dish pop out and in to my mouth (wiping drool. I am inspired to create in my kitchen now. Thank you!

  2. It is not often that a dish gets a physical reaction from me, but this one did. Salivating. Silly, but true. The flavors in this sound remarkable. Thinking the roasted grapes are the ticket.

  3. What a beautiful looking salad & needing green inspiration as here in NZ they will now be making a regular appearance in my veggie box. Came across via Saveur blog awards...Good Luck!

  4. gonna try this next week! always looking for new way to use kale and other greens and salads that incorporate fruit so that my kids are more apt to eat them!!!

  5. this recipe looks amazing and i am very eager to try it. i have one question though, about the farro. i have just started cooking with it and LOVE the taste and texture. however, it does not cook in anywhere near 25 minutes! even with prior soaking, it took no less than 1.5 hours to get it to a softly crunchy edible state. does farro come in different varieties or what?

  6. Hello Professor, I think with farro it all depends on your taste, in regards to the consistency or texture. If you like it more crunchy or nutty you cook it for less time and if you like it softer than you can keep adding water until it cooks as long as it needs for your taste. I will try and get the name of the same farro I used, the next time I stop by the Park Slope Food Coop and get back to you.

  7. I have never considered roasting grapes before but I am willing to try anything for the first time so will certainly give this a try.

    Many thanks for the idea

  8. Russ I highly recommend it! roasting the grapes and trying anything once :))

  9. What a wonderful post of a beautiful salad good work