Not gonna lie, the Flavor Bible I bought in New Orleans is getting a lot of use and I think it’s probably one of the best kitchen/cooking investments anyone can make. It will bring your cooking to a new level and I am definitely using it when I get stuck like last Friday. My conundrum was: what kind of new side salad could I make to go along with the wonderful grilled duck we were going to be eating? One ingredient jumped out at me when looking up duck combinations in the book: farro. Cheryl and I both enjoy farro but we tend to eat it more in the fall and winter accompanying roasts or braises. But flavor is flavor, I thought to myself, regardless of the season. A cold Cranberry and Orange Farro Salad would work just fine.
Lots of things can go with duck and farro. But if you think about it what do you usually see? Duck a l’orange or duck with cherries, some sort of duck curry. It’s either sweet or spicy. Having decided to make a rub containing curry powder, ginger powder, some cloves (wanted allspice but discovered I was out) and garlic I chose to add fruit and nuts to the farro. Sweet countering spicy. Ah you’re salivating now, aren’t you? Orange slices, dried fruit, and some nuts for crunch. I really like this new creation think it pairs fantastically with the duck. Still good on its own, but best with the duck.
It’s a salad, so there’s not much to this. However, technique-wise I’ve found when making salads out of farro, rice, couscous or lentils it is wise to really let them drain properly to dry and cool off. At least an hour. If you start mixing things in while your base is still warm you’ll end up with a watery and sticky salad as opposed to one where the grains are looser and separate. Also, unless you surgically cut up your oranges you’re probably going to end up with some orange flesh still attached to parts of the rind. Don’t be afraid to squeeze that juice into the bowl too. Leave no flavor behind!
Orange and Cranberry Farro Salad (makes 6-8 servings)
- 1 ½ C farro
- 1 ½ C dried cranberries
- ½ C slivered almonds (or walnuts or pecans)
- Zest from 1 orange
- 1 orange segmented and cut into pieces
Over medium high heat on the stove bring 3-4 C of water to a boil. Add the farro and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until farro is tender yet still firm. Drain farro and set aside to cool for at least an hour.
When the farro has cooled add the dried cranberries, almonds, orange zest, and orange segments. Mix. Taste, adjust seasonings and drizzle some olive oil in to taste.