Tonight's dinner takes a moment to appreciate the versatility and beauty that is the salad. Salads have no rules. They're kind of like that wild child in high school who could do whatever they wanted -- they march to the beat of their own drum. This week were appreciating the glory of this no-rules food and turning it into a fantastic, snappy dinner. Dinner tonight proves that a salad can shine as the star of the meal -- and that multiple salads shine even brighter.
2 small heads radicchio
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 strips of bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into lardons
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved fresh parsley 2 cups uncooked farro (or substitute barley)
1 medium red onion, cut in half
1 cup finely diced (about 1/4-inch cubes) fresh mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons minced pitted kalamata olives
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
We know you have a well-stocked pantry so you'll have olive oil, salt, pepper, dijon mustard, honey, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar and garlic on hand.
1. Preheat the oven for your radicchio. Quarter your radicchio, toss it with olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper, then place them wedge side down in a casserole dish to marinate while your oven heats.
2. Toss your farro, one onion half, garlic, handful of parsley and salt and 2 3/4 cups water into a pot. Bring it to a boi, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, then let it sit, covered for 5 more minutes.
3. Dress shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper, and arrange on a baking sheet.
4. Discard the onion, garlic and large pieces of parsley from your farro and spread it out a on a baking sheet to cool completely.
5. Pop the radicchio in the oven for 15-18 minutes, turning once. When it's tender and close to done, throw in the shrimp and cook until they're pink and firm, 3-5 minutes.
6. While the farro is cooling and the radicchio and shrimp are roasting, cook the bacon in olive oil until just crisp, then add the shallots to warm through. Remove from heat and stir in balsamic, mustard, syrup, and cherry tomatoes.
7. Remove both shrimp and radicchio from the oven. Chop them into bite-size pieces and throw in a large bowl, and dress with the bacon vinaigrette. Scatter with parsley or chives on top.
8. Chop the remaining half onion and whisk together the dressing ingredients for the farro. Combine the cooled farro, chopped onion, olives, tomatoes, parsley and basil into a bowl and toss, then season with salt and pepper.
9. Enjoy salads for dinner.
Photos by James Ransom and Sarah Shatz