Almost three months after my trip to Dominica, I invited the ladies I met at Jungle Bay Resort to my apartment for a reunion. Six of us ate, drank, talked and hung out for eights hours! I was pretty tired the next morning, but was grateful for the new friends I met during a pretty tough holiday. Jai was the only vegetarian in the group, so while I served everyone else pulled pork-style center loin, I put this salad together as her main course so she could have the bite of the farro grain and the earthiness of the mushrooms while we devoured our meat.
This dish was also inspired by my last trip to San Francisco because the mushrooms for sale in the farmers’ market were less expensive. I saw plenty of them in the Ferry Terminal and that made me wish I had access to a kitchen. So now back at home, I bought a combination of hen of the woods, shiitake and oyster mushrooms for twice the price. Farro to me is so California: I saw it several times on different menus while I was there; I rarely see it here in New York. When you make this on your own, try some chanterelles if you can add a few more bucks to your grocery budget and buy crimini and whites to add to the quantity without breaking the bank. A good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese will do, but I like Pecorino better for this. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese. Everything is quite pretty but you’d be even happier with the smell.
1 cup uncooked farro
1/2 pound mix of wild mushrooms
Pecorino cheese, shaved
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1. Heat the oven to 350º. 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. Bring to a boil over high heat to cook. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the farro is tender but still has some bite.
2. While the farro is cooking, toss the mushrooms with salt, pepper and olive oil in a large bowl. Spread the seasoned mushrooms out evenly on a lined baking sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
3. When the farro is cooked, drain well and spread it on another baking sheet to cool. Do the same with the mushrooms once they are cooked. When both farro and mushrooms are close to room temperature, combine them in a serving bowl. Drizzle with some lemon juice and toss gently with Pecorino cheese and parsley.
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