Monday, August 15, 2011

Farro with Fennel, Shiitake mushroom, and Parlsey

I joke that I really only make sides for dinner... small plates, if you will. Dinner regularly consists of various straight-from-the-market produce thrown into the spotlight as a main with a protein packed bean or grain, toasted bread topped with some delicious antipasti (spicy chick peas with red onions or crushed cannellini beans), and usually a beautifully roasted vegetable that we still dream about weeks later.

This farro salad is probably my favorite one yet! It is delicate and packed with a savory woodsy flavor from the shiitake and earthiness from the fennel. And it is healthy and full of protein. The dressing is so ridiculously good that I make extra to dress arugula or other mixed greens.

It keeps well for two to three days so it is great for a quick dinner. Since farro takes about 45 min to cook, I usually cook 1 or 2 cups of farro over the weekend and use it in dishes during weeknights.

If you are new to farro, you may want to read my previous post, farro salad with cherry tomatoes and lemon cucumber, for an introduction to the amazing grain!

Farro with Fennel, Mushrooms, and Parsley 
1/4 cup parsley leaves or 2 tbsp fennel fronds, coarsely chopped
8 oz shiitake and oyster mushrooms, stemmed, large caps quartered
2 large scallions or spring onion, thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, shaved using a mandoline

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cups farro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring water to a boil in a large heavy bottomed pot, add 2 tsp salt. Rinse farro under cold water in a strainer. Transfer farro to salted boiling water, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 30-45 minutes until tender but still with a bite. Drain well and let cool in a large bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large skillet. Add the shiitake and oyster mushrooms and season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and soy sauce. Whisk in 3 tbsp of olive oil. In a large bowl, toss the cooked farro, sliced scallions, and fennel with the dressing; season with salt and pepper and transfer to a platter. Top the salad with sautéed mushrooms and chopped parsley or fennel fronds. Serve with the lemon wedges.

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