Rush Hour Gourmet

BILL HOGAN / Chicago Tribune
BILL HOGAN / Chicago Tribune
Posted: August 17, 2012

During stone-fruit season, I can't get enough of beautifully ripe apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums. But peaches are my favorite, so much so that I've taken to playing with their sweet-tart flavor in entrees. In this one, farro, a nutty Italian grain, acted as a base for the peaches, backed up by smoky bacon, fresh peppers, creamy, tangy feta, onions, and peppery arugula.

Summery Grain Salad With Peaches

Makes 6 servings

11/2 cups uncooked pearled farro or quinoa

4 to 6 slices bacon

1 red onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 medium peaches, chopped in 1/2-inch dice

6 ounces feta, crumbled

2 banana or melrose peppers, sliced very thinly crosswise, seeds and pith removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 bunch arugula, torn into pieces

1. Cook the farro or quinoa according to package directions. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool to room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from skillet. Drain on paper towels; crumble bacon.

3. Cook the onions in the bacon fat, turning as needed, until slightly charred and beginning to soften, 8 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt as they cook. Remove from skillet; coarsely chop.

4. Meanwhile, stir the peaches, feta, and peppers together with the grain in a large bowl. Add the bacon and onions. Whisk together the oil, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Pour over the salad; stir gently to combine. Taste for salt; add more olive oil if it seems a bit dry. Can be chilled several hours and served later; bring to room temperature before serving. Stir in arugula leaves right before serving.

Per serving: 307 calories, 16 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 30 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 615 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.

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