Farro is a grain similar to barley, but a larger and chewier–I like it better than most other “grains” like bulghur, barley, rice, and quinoa due to its more substantial texture. This was my first experiment in cooking farro, a bag of which I got as a gift from my friend Athena, fellow food connoisseur and cook. I prepared it similar to risotto in that broth was added bit by bit until it was fully absorbed.
This dish is, according to the original author, inspired by a Moroccan porridge called herbel, which is sweet as it uses cinnamon and milk.
The dish below is definitely savory and a perfect light lunch.
Risotto-Style Farro with Cauliflower and Runny Egg
Adapted from Food and Wine
5 tablespoons unsalted butter or Earth Balance
4 scallions, sliced (a kitchen scissor is a great tool for this)
8 ounces uncooked farro
Salt and pepper to taste
1 quart vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar (I did not have sherry)
4-8 large eggs (one or two per person, your choice)
1 tablespon white vinegar
In a large nonstick saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the sliced scallions and cook on medium heat until softened (2 minutes). Add the farro, season with salt and pepper (omit salt if using high-sodium broth) and cook the farro in the butter/scallion mixture for 1 minute (to toast it). Add the broth, half-cup by half-cup, slowly, allowing the farro to absorb it all before adding the next aliquot of broth; stir frequently but not constantly. This will take about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and then add cauliflower; season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until tender and browned in spots (about 5 minutes). Add the cauliflower to the farro mixture and toss, as well as the vinegar and the remaining butter. Divvy into four bowls.
Poach the eggs: Crack the eggs into small bowls. Bring a shallow pan of water to a rolling boil. Add white vinegar to the water; vinegar keeps the egg whites from spreading too much. Add each egg into the pan carefully and cook for three minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place directly on top of the farro in each bowl. Garnish with fresh scallions.
This was pretty easy to make and very satisfying. I used the 10-minute farro, which may have changed the texture of the resulting product; I think risotto is supposed to be creamier. I would like to try cooking regular farro and see if there is a difference. The red wine vinegar cuts through the buttery farro and rich egg yolk, and the sweetness of the browned cauliflower offsets the savory scallions.
I really love eggs with a runny yolk… something about them, it just tastes like the elixir of life (which, it kind of is). This meal is super protein-packed and a great post-workout dish. The dish is vegan besides the egg, and can stand up without the egg if necessary.
If I make this again, though, I’ll definitely add some more veggies such as broccoli and/or peas for color and flavor.