With all due respect to those on grain-free diets, the phrase “cauliflower rice” is rude to rice, and also to cauliflower. Where grains are bouncy and nutty, cauliflower bits are steamy and bland. But I do love cauliflower, so instead of treating it like a grain, I combined it with one. Toasting the cooked farro gives it extra bite (especially if it still has the hull), and cooking the cauliflower until brown and crisp eliminates any sog factor. This is somewhere between a stir-fry and a grain salad, and is equally good hot, warm, or as leftovers the next day. —lallimusic
Test Kitchen Notes
Reprinted with permission from That Sounds So Good by Carla Lalli Music Copyright © 2021 by Carla Lalli Music. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. —The Editors
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes
- Serves 4
1 1/2 cups
farro (wheat berries), preferably unpearled
kosher salt, plus more for seasoning; freshly ground pepper
extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
medium head cauliflower
crushed red pepper flakes
anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained, optional
loosely packed finely chopped tender herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, and/or mint
- Rinse farro, then place it in a medium stockpot and cover with cold water by several inches. Season water with 1 tablespoon salt and several turns of black pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and skim off any foam that rises to the surface, then add a few twirls of olive oil. Cook until the grains are truly al dente— tender but with a little chew and no trace of graininess or chalkiness at the center, 35 to 40 minutes (25 minutes if using pearled farro). Drain and spread over a rimmed baking sheet to cool. (Save the cooking liquid to use in braises and soups.)
- Meanwhile, trim stem and outer dark green leaves from the base of the cauliflower, then cut it in half through the crown, core and light green inner leaves included. Roughly chop one half, place pieces in a food processor, and pulse into small bits, 20 to 25 pulses (you should have about 2½ cups chopped cauliflower; save remaining cauliflower half for another use, such as the pasta on page 179).
- Thinly slice shallots. Heat a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high and pour in ¼ cup oil. Add the shallots and season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are golden brown all over and starting to crisp, 4 to 6 minutes more (don’t take them too far; they’ll darken further as they cool). Use a slotted spoon to transfer shallots to a plate and season with salt. Wipe out pan.
- Return pan to medium-high heat and pour in 2 tablespoons oil. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and black pepper. Toss to coat, then cook, undisturbed, until the cauliflower is sizzling and starting to sweat on the surface, 3 to 4 minutes. Lightly crush cumin and add it to cauliflower, then toss again. Cook, stirring infrequently, until the cauliflower is tender and dark golden brown on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a medium bowl. Finely grate half the zest from the lemon directly onto cauliflower; stir to combine. Set aside.
- Return pan to medium-high heat and pour in remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the anchovies and break them up with a spoon. Cook until the anchovies disintegrate and oil is sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the farro, season with salt, and toss to coat. Press farro into the pan with the back of the spoon and cook, undisturbed, until starting to brown, 3 minutes. Toss the farro, stirring, then press it back against surface of pan and cook, undisturbed, until hot and crisp, 3 minutes more. Add the cauliflower and herbs to the farro and toss. Cook until the cauliflower is heated through, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the fried farro to a platter and scatter shallots over. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze juice over everything.