Compliments of: Chef Seth Caswell
2 oz fresh morel mushrooms*, sliced into rings
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 ea shallot, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 ea garlic clove, minced
4 ea asparagus stalks
2 cups vegetable stock (or substitute chicken stock)
1 ½ cups Bluebird Grains Emmer Farro
1 ea medium onion, small dice
1 ea fennel bulb, small dice
2 ea med carrots, small dice
1 ea fresh bay leaf
4 ea parsley stems
1 bunch garlic chives, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup white wine
to taste kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
*Dried morels can be used in place of fresh. The ratio of fresh to dry is typically 8.5lbs fresh to 1lb dried morels.
1) Morels: Warm butter and ½ tsp olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add sliced morel mushrooms and stir occasionally for two minutes, or until butter begins to brown. Add shallot, garlic, salt and pepper and continue to sauté for another minute. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or dry sherry and sprinkle the morels with a pinch of fresh thyme. Taste and reseason with salt and pepper, then transfer the cooked mushrooms to a dish to cool.
2) Asparagus: Bring pot of water to boil, then add 1 Tbsp salt. Set up an ice bath and blanch the asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the boiling water and immediately plunge it into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Dry the asparagus and slice the stalks in 1” segments and set aside in refrigerator.
3) Farro: Bring vegetable stock to a boil. In a heavy bottomed pot, with at least 6” sides, heat the remaining olive oil with the onions, fennel and carrots over medium-high heat. Stir the vegetables, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, until they begin to caramelize or begin to brown. Add the farro to the vegetables and toss until the grains are coated with oil and warmed through. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of white wine. Add a bouquet of thyme, parsley stems and bay leaf, and cover the farro with the stock. Reseason again with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. We do not want to stir too consistently, because it would stimulate the farro’s starch resulting in a creamy or gummy dish. After 35 minutes, the farro should begin to become more tender, but it will still have a bit of bite. Remove the lid and cook 15 more minutes, or until the farro has completely absorbed the stock. Season again with salt and pepper.
4) Assembling the dish: (Note: the components of this dish can be made at different times and assembled at the last minute.) Stir the cooked morels and sliced asparagus to the warm farro. Add the garlic chives and season a final time with salt and pepper. The farro can be served as a warm side garnish for fish, a stuffing for meat, or tossed with greens for a salad. Enjoy!