Recipe: Kale, farro, and carrot salad
Kale is abundant at farmers’ markets in early spring, the fall, and early winter. Like Brussels sprouts, kale develops its best flavor after the first cold snap. And it’s beautiful. We especially love Tuscan (lacinato) kale, with its dark, blue-green color. When shopping, choose bunches with dark, unblemished, crisp leaves. Here, we use it raw, tenderized by removing the central stem, and shredded. The farro adds heartiness and the dried wild blueberries, soaked in verjus (see below), give the salad a delicate, subtle hint of sweetness. We adapted the recipe from a salad created at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, but we have seen similar salads popping up all over the place. The dried wild blueberries and Parmesan cheese make this version our own.
Serves 12 as a side dish.
To make the farro:
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
- 2 1/4 cups (14 ounces) pearled or semi-pearled farro
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dried wild blueberries or currants
- 1/4 cup verjus or orange juice (see below)
- 1 cup pine nuts or shelled pumpkin seeds
- 2 bunches lacinato kale, center ribs and stems removed, finely shredded (4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons verjus (see below), sherry vinegar, or balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium carrots, peeled shredded or grated (1 cup)
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup shaved Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives or coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
To make the farro, heat the oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and sauté until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the farro, stir, and reduce the heat to low. Toast, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Add the water and bay leaf, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes (or follow package directions). Using a colander, drain any remaining liquid and transfer the farro to a shallow bowl. Discard the bay leaf. Let cool.
Meanwhile, make the salad. Soak the blueberries in the verjus or orange juice until plumped, about 30 minutes (if using currants, they can be soaked overnight). Drain and set aside berries. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over low heat, watching carefully and stirring often, until golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the kale with the verjus, or vinegar season with salt and pepper, and toss. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. In a second large bowl, combine the farro, blueberries, pine nuts, grated carrots, shallots, and pepper flakes. Add the olive oil and toss well. Add the kale and toss again. Sprinkle with the Parmesan (to taste), chives, and drizzle with the lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning and
Verjus: Literally meaning “green juice,” verjus, the pressed juice of unripened grapes, is actually red or white depending on the grape it comes from. It’s similar to vinegar, but has a gentler flavor with a sweet-tart taste because it isn’t fermented. We enjoy using it in salad dressings, especially on heartier greens like kale and arugula. Once opened, it will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 months.
From 'The Community Table: Recipes and Stories From the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan & Beyond' by Katja Goldman, Judy Bernstein Bunzl and Lisa Rotmil (Grand Central Publishing)