Sunday, November 08, 2009

Autumnal Farro Salad with Smokey Roasted Grapes, Walnuts & Mushrooms

picture photograph image smokey farro salad 2009 copyright of sam breach http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/
Last weekend I threw a casual buffet supper for a few 'dead-celebrity' impersonators before we all headed to a Hallowe'en party where being an expired famous person was the raison d'etre. As you all know, celebrities can be a needy bunch and consequently I had to juggle several dietary preferences in a meal where I hoped I could include things that everyone might like. I wanted to make a seasonal salad that would be wholesome and comforting without screaming out "Hey I am a *vegan* salad".

The inspiration came from a fabulous feast we were invited to last Christmas day at the home of some restaurant-owning friends who had built a wood-fired oven in their back yard. One of the the appetizers they sent out was a wonderful smokey dish of roasted grapes and walnuts. So simple, but delicious, it had been playing on my mind ever since a more recent roasted grape salad at Incanto had reminded me of it. Now that grape season is upon us, I wondered if I could riff on that idea a little and create something inspired by the grape and walnut combination in my far-less-glamorous-than-a-wood-fired-oven electric stove.

Turns out that my gut instinct served me well and I knocked up a dish that I was congratulated on from several quarters. It couldn't be much simpler to make, here's how:

Cook up half a pound (or more if you are feeding a larger group), of farro in salted boiling water. I find that using the farro I purchase from Boulette's larder, it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes before the grain is perfectly al dente. Use your own taste buds to make that judgment. Drain the farro.

In the meantime, heat the oven to 400F and pop a handful, or two of walnuts into a roasting pan. Toast them in the heated oven until you start to smell their nutty aroma, but before they become too deeply browned. Remove the pan from the oven (using gloves of course) and throw in some seedless grapes (I like the green/blush ones), and small whole mushrooms. I favour a mix of shiitake, tree oysters and maitake (which I tear into smaller pieces). Sprinkle with a scant teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika and a couple of bold pinches of Maldon salt before dousing in a decent glug of olive oil. Using a spatula, fold all the ingredients together until everything is evenly coated and well mixed. Pop back into the oven to roast, for 20 about minutes, stirring once half way through.

Once you can smell the mushrooms, the grapes are just on the verge of starting to shrivel and everything else looks golden brown you can remove the pan from the oven and stir in the strained farro grains. Taste and add more salt as necessary (but be careful doing that whilst those grapes and nuts are still piping hot).

I like to serve this salad warm or at room temperature. I am hoping you might like to too...


aka Audrey Hepburn

Local Resources
Farro from Italy via Boulette's Larder
Grapes from Balakian Farms
Mushrooms from Far West Funghi
Walnuts from Alfieri
Olive Oil from Bariani
Salt from England
Smoked Paprika from Spain

Archives
2005 | Has it really been four years? Account of my first meeting with fellow food bloggers in London and Paris.
2004 | Bake Sales for Charity

© 2009 Sam Breach
Autumnal Farro Salad with Smokey Roasted Grapes, Walnuts & Mushrooms

25 Comments:

  • At 8/11/09 15:56, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Grapes and mushrooms! Frabjous.
    Can't do the farro, but I'm sure there's a grain I could sub.

     
  • At 8/11/09 16:28, Blogger Barbara said…

    I haven't seen farro around so need to search it out. Grape season here soon so will bookmark recipe to try. Can't imagine the texture of cooked grapes and not sure I will like.

     
  • At 8/11/09 16:55, Anonymous Unplanned Cooking said…

    I've never cooked with farro. Thanks for the inspiration.

     
  • At 8/11/09 20:55, Blogger Zoomie said…

    I'm imagining the texture would be a major player in this salad - sounds wunderbar!

     
  • At 9/11/09 08:41, Blogger L Vanel said…

    I will definitely try this some time soon. Thanks. A great photo too!

     
  • At 10/11/09 01:02, Anonymous Sorcerer said…

    wow!! yummy pics

    This blog has got appetizing posts :)

     
  • At 10/11/09 05:26, Anonymous Indu said…

    I love my salads and this is a great recipe. what a combination - Smokey Roasted Grapes, Walnuts & Mushrooms!
    Thanks.

     
  • At 14/11/09 05:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sounds lovely!!

    I just came across a delicious new magazine called Poetry of Food, poetryoffood.com, scroll to the bottom and there is a writer called Amy and she makes very earthy recipes,

    I love this new magazine, it feeds the soul!

    Sam

     
  • At 14/11/09 17:47, OpenID yourfoodchoices said…

    We just discovered farro this year (we buy it in bulk from Rainbow in SF) and loved it from the first taste. It's been a while and this is perfect inspiration to revisit this versatile, delicious grain.

    Cheers, Steve
    http://yourfoodchoices.wordpress.com

     
  • At 20/11/09 08:09, Blogger Rachael said…

    Hi Sam!
    I love your inspiration. How terrific. Roasted grapes are so lovely and I would never have thought to match them with mushrooms.
    xoxo
    Rachael

     
  • At 23/11/09 07:56, Anonymous James said…

    Great blog and wonderful recipe ideas, love the of roasted grapes! I teach on a few cookery Holidays around the world and I will definitely be recommending this blog to my students.

     
  • At 25/11/09 12:39, Anonymous gaelle@whatareyoufeedingyourkidsthesedays.com said…

    I am always looking for new ideas... and this recipe is a great one. I have never cooked with farro before. Did you use real farro? Could we use barley instead?

     
  • At 25/11/09 20:43, Blogger Estelle said…

    I love crunchy and juicy salads and will definitely try your recipe!
    :-)
    All the best,
    Estelle

     
  • At 2/12/09 10:00, Blogger The Veggie Queen said…

    I bet that your roasted combo would taste great with any whole grain. I can just imagine it with quinoa.

    I love anything with mushrooms. Since grapes are on their way out of season, I wonder how this would be with apples or fuyu persimmons?

    Thanks for posting.

     
  • At 4/12/09 10:22, Anonymous LazyGirl said…

    I made this last night and it was really tasty. The juice from the mushrooms (I used shitake) combined with the Spanish paprika give it a lovely dark, smokey flavor. Plus it was very easy to make. Thanks for the recipe!

     
  • At 11/12/09 09:00, Anonymous Velva said…

    I had a very similar dish at Gottino's in NYC and it was delicious. Yours look divine!

     
  • At 15/12/09 07:42, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    nice pic.

     
  • At 17/12/09 15:46, Blogger Scott at Real Epicurean said…

    I've never roasted grapes so welcome your innovation - something I definitely need to try out.

     
  • At 23/12/09 10:41, Anonymous Boston bankruptcy attorney said…

    That looks great and healthy! Thanks for the idea.

     
  • At 29/12/09 08:43, Anonymous Christine Medifast said…

    I've never actually heard of farro before. This recipe on the other hand sounds quite delicious. I never turn away from anything with mushrooms so going to have to try this one out.

    Christine M.

     
  • At 29/12/09 16:05, Blogger lauren said…

    This is a delicious dish.. I spread Patan ghee on it and make it more testy....

     
  • At 15/1/10 05:30, Anonymous MiniMuffin said…

    You had me until the mushrooms. I guess you really have to like mushrooms to add it to this

     
  • At 19/1/10 19:03, Anonymous dining tables said…

    What a nice photo of the dish! This is so beautiful! I love grapes and I hope I can find some nice freshly picked grapes to day so that I can try it.

     
  • At 28/1/10 18:24, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Roasted grapes? How fabulous! I've only heard of people putting them to the opposite extreme - freezing them. I'm definitely going to have to try this sometime.

     
  • At 29/1/10 04:06, Anonymous Online Classifieds Advertising said…

    i love salads.... good posting....

     

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