We recently went out for a fabulous vegetarian meal at Beast, a Portland restaurant most commonly known for it's meat. They serve a monthly vegetarian supper, and it was kismet that for April it fell on my vegetarian sister's birthday. One of the courses was "Pan Crisped Farro with Poached Egg, Grilled Spring Onions, Carrots, and Maitakes." It was fantastic, and the crispy farro was a delight. This dish is my much less complicated version.
I preferred a mix of crisp, nutty farro with more traditionally cooked farro. I also wanted to minimize prep and pans used, so ended up just using sautéed spring onions, with some fresh herbs and lemon for brightness. A dusting of grated cheese and a poached egg on top turns the dish into a satisfying meal. —hardlikearmour
- Serves 2
cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
ounces spring onions (or scallions if it's not spring)
cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
large mint leaves, chiffonade
small to medium lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly grated black pepper
Parmesan or Pecorino
- Cover farro with water by at least an inch, and allow to soak for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, once it's boiling reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Clean the onions, and remove any less than fresh leaves. Cut the onions at the junction where the leaves start. Add the greens to the stock. Set the rest of the onions aside. Allow stock to simmer while the farro is soaking, then remove the greens. Taste for salt, and adjust so it's fairly salty, essentially like pasta water.
- Drain the farro, and add to the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until the farro is tender, but still slightly chewy, about 20 minutes (depending on your farro.) Drain the farro well, and transfer to a sheet pan lined with a clean tea towel to dry.
- While the farro is cooking, zest and juice your lemon. Set aside. Chiffonade your mint and chop your parsley. Set aside. If your spring onions are fat, cut them in half lengthwise then into thin (1/8-inch or so) slices. If they're thin, bias cut them into thin slices. Set aside.
- Get ready to poach your eggs, if you already have a tried and true method, go ahead and use it otherwise give this a whirl: Place a rack or folded towel in the bottom of a large saucepan or stock pot. Place 2 6-oz ramekins on the rack and fill the pot with water so it spills into and just fills the ramekins. Remove the ramekins draining the water back into the pot. Crack an egg into each ramekin (if your eggs are less than fresh, strain them through a slotted spoon to remove the wispy whites first.) Bring the water to a boil, then add 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt. Remove the pot from the heat, then carefully lower each ramekin into the water using a jar lifter or wearing heatproof and waterproof gloves. Eggs will be done in approximately 6 minutes, start checking them after 5. Use slotted spoon to carefully fish the cooked eggs out.
- Heat butter and olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Once the butter quits sputtering add 1/5 to 1/4 of the farro. Shake or stir to get the farro coated with the oil. Cook the farro, stirring occasionally, until it starts to get nutty smelling and crispy, about 5 minutes. Be cautious, it will start to pop like popcorn. Put a lid on it and continue to cook another minute or 2, shaking frequently and peeking every 30 seconds or so, until it is nicely golden brown and crispy/crunchy.
- Remove the cover and add the sliced onions. (Now is the time to remove your boiling water from the heat and get the eggs into it.) Cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining farro, and season with salt and black pepper. Cook stirring frequently to continuously, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the farro is heated through. Remove from heat and add the parsley, mint, lemon zest, and 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir well to combine. Taste for seasoning, and add salt, pepper, or more lemon juice if desired. Divide between 2 dishes and grate Parmesan or Pecorino over each portion. Top with a poached egg and some black pepper. Serve immediately.
- Note: if you're concerned about the timing of the poached eggs you can make them ahead of time, and store them in cold water in the fridge. Heat them with hot (not boiling) water for a minute or so before serving. You could also fry an egg instead if you're more comfortable with it!