Farro and Away

A healthy spring salad from an emmer-obsessed chef

It's obvious that chef Seth Caswell has a thing for emmer wheat (the nutty grain commonly known as farro), as it figures prominently in the name of his new Seattle restaurant, Emmer & Rye. The plump, versatile grain also turns up all over his menu: in farro fries, in emmer-flour biscuits–and in this healthy, vegetable-loaded salad that also highlights one of spring's greatest treasures, the morel mushroom. Although it's excellent on its own, the salad can also play sidekick to grilled salmon, serve as a stuffing for pork chops and dress up salad greens, too.

Recipe adapted from Seth Caswell, Emmer & Rye, Seattle

Farro Salad With Morels And Asparagus
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Farro salad recipe from Seth Caswell, chef at Seattle's Emmer & Rye restaurant
Servings
4
to 6 side-dish servings
Ingredients
  • 6 asparagus stalks, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) fresh morels--rinsed well, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon dry white wine, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
  • ¾ cup diced fennel bulb
  • ¾ cup diced yellow onions
  • ½ cup diced carrots
  • 1½ cups farro
  • 1 herb sachet (consisting of 1 bay leaf, 4 parsley stems and 4 sprigs of thyme tied together in cheesecloth)
  • ⅓ cup chopped chives or garlic chives
Directions
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the asparagus to the pot and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry with paper towels, then cut in half lengthwise and slice crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
  2. In a skillet, warm the butter and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the morels and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the wine and the thyme and cook until the wine evaporates. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sauté the fennel, onions and carrots over medium heat until slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Stir in the farro until the grains are coated with oil and warmed through. Add the remaining ½ cup wine and simmer until evaporated. Add the boiling stock and the herb sachet. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender but still slightly chewy, about 35 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro absorbs the remaining stock, about 15 minutes longer.
  4. Remove from the heat and discard the herb sachet. Stir in the morels, asparagus and chives and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cool and serve chilled.
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