Farro Salad with Roasted Crimini Mushrooms, Arugula, and Parmesan

Recently I bought a bag of farro. I'd been interested in cooking with this grain and decided it was time. Unfortunately the bag sat for several weeks because I didn't have a clue what to make. After some research I found that common uses for farro include soups, salads, and quite a few recipes for farro risotto. Last weekend I tried two recipes, the salad was the success.


I made a modified version of a recipe I found on Food52, a really great food site. The recipe was developed by Merrill Stubbs. What's great about the recipe is it has good instructions for preparing the farro which is just what I needed as this was my first attempt at using the grain.

The only modifications I made to the recipe were to use crimini mushrooms instead of wild mushrooms, added the zest of the lemon, added arugula, and reduced the amount of olive oil by half. I think wild mushrooms would be fantastic in this dish and I'll use them the next time. It was easier for me to get crimini from my local super market. I also like the freshness of lemon zest and the bite of arugula and thought they'd both work well in the recipe.

One note about cleaning mushrooms. Over the years I've stopped using the method of cleaning mushrooms with a damp cloth. I find the practice time consuming and not very effective. I follow Jacques Pepin's method of rinsing mushrooms in a bowl of water - only just before cooking and shaking out excess water before use (I shake them out in a colander and blot them dry with a paper towel for good measure). Who am I to argue with the great master?

Although the salad tastes best at room temperature the day you make it, it kept well in the refrigerator and I had it for lunch several times this week.


Farro Salad with Roasted Crimini Mushrooms, Arugula, and Parmesan

Modified from Merrill Stubbs' recipe on Food52

1 cup uncooked farro
Salt
8 - 10 ounces crimini mushrooms
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 cup baby arugula, washed and dried
¼ cup parmesan (I used a large grater to get chunkier strips)
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, combine the farro and enough cold water to cover it by about an inch. Soak for 20 minutes. Drain well and return the farro to the pan, again covering it with cold water. Add a few generous pinches of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the farro is tender but still has some bite.

While the farro is cooking, clean mushrooms and cut them into bite-sized pieces - halved or quartered depending on size of the mushrooms. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently to distribute everything. Spread the mushrooms out evenly on the baking sheet and put in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crisp around the edges and cooked through.

When the farro is cooked, drain it well and spread it on a clean baking sheet to cool. Cool the mushrooms once they are cooked.

When the farro and mushrooms are close to room temperature, combine them in a serving bowl. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil (add more if desired), tossing gently to combine. Add the arugula, Parmesan, parsley and a generous grinding of pepper and mix gently. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve at room temperature.

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