Smitten Kitchen's Honey and Harissa Farro Salad

[Photograph: Deb Perelman]

It's hard to get through fall without encountering more than a few roasted vegetable salads. They're earthy, filling, and entirely seasonal. In The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Deb Perelman writes about a few such salads, but the one that drew my eye was her Honey and Harissa Farro Salad. I'm a big harissa fan, and the idea of tempering its spiciness with honey sounded like a perfect dressing base. But what the title of the recipes leaves out is that over half of this salad is made up of roasted batons of carrots and parsnips—two of my favorite fall staples. And if you're lucky enough to live in a place with choices in your carrots, go for a rainbow of colors for a vibrant fall meal.

Why I picked this recipe: Perelman excels at building complex flavors with the simplest combination of ingredients, so a roasted carrot and farro salad seemed ripe for sampling.

What worked: This sweetly spicy and deeply earthy salad is truly fall in a bowl.

What didn't: The salad was a bit oily, so I'd cut back on the olive oil in the dressing a bit next time. Four tablespoons (1/4 cup) would be plenty. In addition, my vegetable batons roasted in about half the time written in the recipe, so be sure to watch yours carefully.

Suggested tweaks: It would be simple to add a variety of root vegetables to the salad—beets, rutabaga, and turnips would all work well here. You could also swap out the feta cheese for any other crumbly cheese like goat or a (subtle) blue.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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