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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Peel the orange (go here to see the quickest, easiest way), cut off the majority of the white pith, take out the pips, slice.
- 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.
- Drain the orzo and return to the saucepan. Add the dressing, the capers, the olives, and the shredded radicchio. Snip in the sage.
- Arrange over the placed radicchio leaves on the platter. Arrange the orange slices over that. Place the radicchio ‘rose’ – the base in the centre.
- Serve with a flourish!