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It’s always easiest to stick with your tried-and-true recipes and ingredients — the ones we know and feel comfortable with. But every once in a while it’s good to be adventurous and strike out in a new direction. Find something at the Market that you’ve never tried before (it’s easy to do), and expand your culinary horizons! Have you cooked with fennel, celeriac, beets, or grapes? Now is your chance! Here are several interesting recipes with some ingredients you may not have tried before. Be bold!

Farro Salad with Oven-Roasted Grapes and Autumn Greens

from Martha Stewart Living

Chewy farro — an Italian whole grain — is tossed with mixed greens in this colorful salad. It’s flavored by two kinds of grapes that have been baked in a low oven to concentrate their sweetness and release their juices. The Concord grapes aren’t seedless, but they make a beautiful garnish.

odd grapesIngredients:

  • 3 cups seedless red grapes (about 1 pound), halved crosswise
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bunches Concord grapes
  • 8 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • 4 cups mixed small greens (such as baby kale, baby Swiss chard, red mustard, and red mizuna)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Arrange red grapes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Place Concord grape bunches in the center of red grapes. Bake until grapes have shrunk to about half their size but are still juicy, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, combine farro, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium saucepan; cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions and remaining tablespoon rosemary for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until onions are golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Flip onions, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, flipping, until onions are tender and browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Pour mixture over farro; toss. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Stir in red grapes. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  4. Gently stir in greens just before serving. Arrange salad on a platter, and garnish with bunches of Concord grapes. Makes 12 servings.

Farro is a lovely grain to try, and if you can’t find it, you can substitute quinoa or barley. And oven-roasting the grapes is a fantastic way to enhance their rich flavor. Now grap some fennel, celeriac (celery root), and beets along with dandelion greens, parsnips, goat cheese, spicy radishes, kale, and green apples for the following unique dishes!

Fennel, Escarole, and Radish Salad

Celery Root and Apple Slaw

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Green Apple, and Honey

Pork Medallions with Parsnips and Grapes

Pork Cutlets with Fennel

Roasted Chickenwith Celery Root and Onion

Roasted Beet and Dandelion Greens Salad

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