Orange and red ancient grain salad

This is a rather unusual salad with a base of ancient grain – orzo. Orzo is the Italian name for barley, but pearl barley is not the exact equivalent – nevertheless it would be a good substitute, as would freekeh.

The sage gives a wonderful and unexpected pepperiness to this salad.

The sweetness of the orange means that this salad goes especially well with salty, paper-thin prosciutto.


Recipe for orange and red ancient grain salad

Serves 2


  • 100g/½ cup orzo grain (NB, not the pasta), or pearl barley
  • 3 tbsps olive oil, plus maybe a little more
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 long head of radicchio
  • 1 orange
  • Urfa pepper flakes
  • a few sage leaves
  • about 10 pitted black olives
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed with some smoked salt


  1. Cook the orzo in a medium-sized saucepan according to the packet instructions – it is likely to be about ten minutes in boiling salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the garlic and salt, the olive oil, the pomegranate molasses, and the Urfa pepper flakes together to make a dressing, and roughly chop the olives.
  3. Peel the orange (go here to see the quickest, easiest way), cut off the majority of the white pith, take out the pips, slice.
  4. Take seven or eight outside leaves off the radicchio, and place around your serving platter. Take the remaining radicchio, and cut horizontally about 2”/5 cm above its base. Trim the base of any brown bits, and keep to one side. Slice the rest of the radicchio into rough shreds.
  5. Drain the orzo and return to the saucepan. Add the dressing, the capers, the olives, and the shredded radicchio. Snip in the sage.
  6. Arrange over the placed radicchio leaves on the platter. Arrange the orange slices over that. Place the radicchio ‘rose’ – the base in the centre.
  7. Serve with a flourish!



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