World Central Kitchen’s First Cookbook

Chef Brooke Williamson's nourishing farro salad made with carrots and carrot juice.
Chef Brooke Williamson’s nourishing farro salad made with carrots and carrot juice.

It’s a good bet that following any disaster around the world no matter how far-flung, those jumping into action immediately after first responders are the chefs and volunteers of World Central Kitchen.

This global nonprofit was founded in 2010 by renowned Chef Jose Andres, who has a roster of restaurants around the United States.

After jumping into action to cook in Haiti after a devastating earthquake, he got the idea to create the organization. Since then, WCK has mobilized to serve more than 300 million meals worldwide.

Andres never expected that people would want recipes for the food served under those circumstances, he writes. But plenty did.

That’s what prompted “The World Central Kitchen Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy. It was written by Andres and World Central Kitchen; with Sam Chapple-Sokol, editorial director of the Jose Andres Group.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to WCK’s emergency efforts.

The book is filled with moving images of chefs, cooks, and local volunteers working together to feed those in need.

The recipes are ones that have been served in places where WCK have had boots on the ground, such as a vegetarian “Ukranian Borsch” served to families torn apart by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; “Chicken Chili Verde” prepared for California firefighters battling wildfires; and “Torta De Cambur (Venezuelan Banana Bread,” baked especially for children suffering through the upheaval in Venezuela.

There are also recipes from celebrity patrons of WCK, such as “Breakfast Tacos” from Michelle Obama and “Ayesha’s Chicken Parmesan” from Ayesha Curry.

Carrots do double-duty in this grain salad.
Carrots do double-duty in this grain salad.

“Brooke’s Carrot-Farro Salad” comes from Brooke Williamson, “Top Chef” champion of Season 14, and chef-owner of Playa Provisions in Southern California.

What sets this grain salad apart is the fact that the farro is not cooked in water or broth, but in carrot juice. It lends a little more color to the farro, along with an earthy taste, and not to mention more nutrition.

Just simmer the farro in the juice with onion, garlic, and a pinch of brown sugar, before adding diced carrots toward the end. Cook until the grains are tender. Your farro may or may not soak up all the carrot juice from cooking. Mine did. If yours didn’t, just drain and save the juice for a dressing for another salad, as Williamson suggests.

A meal on its own or a side to most anything.
A meal on its own or a side to most anything.

Once cooled to room temperature, gently toss the farro with lemon zest and juice, minced shallot, sliced radishes, and chopped cilantro. Just before serving, finish with chopped avocado, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

This is a salad in which the grains are not necessarily separate and distinct. Instead, the farro clumps together more, and provides a hearty chew.

It’s full of herbaceousness, nuttiness, and a grassy sweetness along with a hint of tang. It will definitely remind you of a freshly-dug carrot in fall.

Full of different textures and flavors.
Full of different textures and flavors.

Brooke’s Carrot-Farro Salad

(Serves 4)

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cups farro (see Note), rinsed

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3 cups pure carrot juice

Kosher salt

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

Grated zest and juice of 2 medium lemons

1 shallot, minced

6 red radishes, thinly shaved

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 avocado, diced

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onions, and garlic and sweat over medium heat until they’re translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the farro and toast for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the onions and garlic don’t brown. Add the brown sugar, carrot juice, and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the farro is al dente — chewy but still firm, 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the diced carrots and continue to cook, stirring often, until the farro is cooked through and the carrots are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Taste the farro and season with salt, if needed, then drain in a colander (save any leftover cooking liquid in the refrigerator to use in a salad dressing). Spread the farro out on a large sheet pan and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, stirring to coat it well. Let it sit at room temperature until cool.

Place the cooled farro in a large bowl and toss with the lemon zest, lemon juice, shallot, radishes, ,and cilantro. (The salad can be made to this point up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)

When ready to serve, add the diced avocado, gently stir, and finish with the sesame seeds and a few twists of black pepper.

Note: Look for farro from brands like Bob’s Red Mill or Earthy Choice. Make sure your farro isn’t “quick cooking” or that the package doesn’t say “cooks in 10 minutes.”

From “The World Central Kitchen Cookbook” by Jose Andres

More Farro Recipe to Enjoy: Braised Chicken with Farro, Kale and Winter Squash

And: Farro Torta

And: Farro and Tomato Salad with Fish-Sauce Vinaigrette

And: Farro Salad with Fennel, Radicchio, and Pistachios

And: Farro with Nectarines, Basil, and Toasted Pine Nuts

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