This recipe comes from the extraordinary restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a mecca of fresh and local food that sources its ingredients from the surrounding pasteurs and farms in Pocantico Hills, New York. There is truly not enough room on this blog to boast all that they do, but you can get a glimpse of them HERE.
And, you can get a humble taste of them here. I made this salad yesterday, and it will be a salad I return to many times this fall, I assure you. I fell in love with kale salads a couple of years ago, and the first one of the season tells me that autumn is really here. You may remember last year I posted my Superfood Salad, with raw kale, roasted beets, red cabbage, and tahini.
This one interprets kale very differently, as the pine nuts, farro, currants, Parmigiano-Regianno cheese, and Tuscan kale all sing of Italy. The farro, also known as ember wheat, is one of my favorite grains. It is chewy, nutty, and very hearty: add it to the vinegar-doused kale, plump fruit, salty cheese, and buttery pine nuts and you’ve got the best darn bite your taste buds could hope to get. Please note, if you cannot find currants you can use dried cranberries; if you do not have a shallot you can skip it and add more chives; if you have white or red wine vinegar, the kale will wilt pleasingly under that as well. This recipe makes a very large salad, so cut the portions in half or thirds for a more conservative quantity. The only must is that you specifically use Tuscan (otherwise known as Lucinato or Dinosaur kale), and authentic parmesan cheese. This is a salad with simple and rustic ingredients so use the best quality you can afford.
Since securing a waitlist seat for Stone Barns is as hard as getting a 7:30am tee time at Augusta National, this dish will need to tide you over. Enjoy this salad in all of it’s healthful, genius glory.
BLUE HILL FARM’S KALE AND FARRO SALAD
• 1 cup dried currants
• 1 cup orange juice
• 4 cups thinly sliced Tuscan kale or other kale
• 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 6 cups cooked farro*
• 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (authentic Parmigiano-Regianno)
• 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Freshly grated Parmesan
In small bowl combine currants and orange juice. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 2 to 24 hours to plump currants. Drain currants; discard half of the orange juice.
In large bowl toss kale with white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Let stand 10 minutes. In very large bowl stir together cooked farro, plumped currants and juice, pine nuts, and shallot.
Add kale mixture, Parmesan cheese, chives, olive oil, lemon juice, and crushed red pepper; toss well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to large serving dish. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan. Serve at room temperature. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
*Cooked farro: In 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat. Add 4 cups uncooked farro; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add 6 cups water and 1 bay leaf. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover; simmer 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and farro is just slightly chewy. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Transfer cooked farro to sheet pan; spread out to cool. Measure 6 cups for recipe. Chill or freeze remaining farro for another use.