Fun fact: citrus season is in the winter. Yes, it is true (at least in North America) – the bright and tangy flavors we associate with sweet sweet summer time are actually at their best in the winter.
My usual go-to blood oranges, Meyer lemons, and grapefruits are great and all, but this year I’m enjoying doing some experimenting with kumquats. These particular kumquats came from my aunt’s garden — she lives in Savannah, Georgia and has the great fortune of being able to grow things year round.
She and her husband came for a visit under circumstances that were less than ideal, in the middle of the whirlwind time between Thanksgiving and Christmas where I tend to lose track of the days anyway. Ahead of their journey, she asked if I wanted some kumquats from the garden. Of course, I said yes. When would I cook with them? What would I do with them? These were questions for later.
After they arrived, I learned that the kumquats caused a little drama on travel day and in a cloud of early mornings, grief, and the usual stress of getting out the door, the tiny little fruits almost made them miss their flight. But in the moment, it was important for my aunt to get me the kumquats, so she did. (Side note: I’m glad I learned of this after they arrived safe, sound, and on schedule. The airport anxiety I feel on behalf of others is… something.) This makes these particular fruits that much more important to me.
For those unfamiliar, kumquats are a pretty unique little fruit. Think about them like an inside-out miniature orange: the inner pulp is sour and tart, while the outer peel is sweet and delightful. The whole fruit (minus the seed) can be used, and in this recipe, the inner pulp adds just the right amount of acidity to this simple farro salad.
If you’re looking for another wintery salad that has a bright pop of flavor, try this Roasted Broccoli Salad with Tahini, Pomegranate, and Pistachios. If you’re over winter and looking forward to spring, try this Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Lemon.
- 3/4 cup farro
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 6-8 kumquats thinly sliced and seeds removed
- 1 bunch lacinato kale stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup chicken stock vegetable stock, or water
- ¼ cup parsley minced
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- In a small pot, combine the farro with 2 cups of water and a big pinch of salt. Heat to boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and all of the water is absorbed. Depending on the strength of your simmer, you might need to add more water.
- While the farro cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet with a lid. Add the sliced shallot, and saute 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the sliced kumquats, and saute, stirring very infrequently, for 3-4 minutes longer, or until the fruit is slightly broken down and the peels have browned slightly around the edges.
- Add the stock or water to the pot, along with a big pinch of salt and a healthy amount of black pepper. Add the kale, then cover the pan to allow the kale to wilt. If your pan doesn’t have a cover, try a cookie sheet or some aluminum foil.
- Add the cooked kale and kumquat mixture to the pot with the farro, stirring to combine. Drizzle in some olive oil and season with salt to taste. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
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