Farro Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Farro Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Recently, I had the opportunity to go on a once in a lifetime trip to the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, specifically the To Kalon Vineyards in Oakville.  While there, we had lunch in the vineyard and to start we were served a farro salad.  This was a great pairing with the Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc.  So once I got home and had some friends over for dinner I did my own creation of a vegetable farro salad.
First I should start with what farro is.  farro (also known as spelt) is not wheat, but a plant and grain all its own.  A grain of farro looks and tastes somewhat like a lighter brown rice.  It has a complex nutty taste with undertones of oats and barley, but lacks the heaviness of many whole-grains.  Farro tastes more elegant.  Because farro contains a starch similar to that found in arborio rice, it behaves much like risotto, releasing a creamy, binding liquid when cooked.  Unlike risotto, farro doesn’t become gummy, instead, it retains its tender, distinct bite, even if it sits awhile after cooking.
Farro Salad
½ Pound of asparagus, cut to 1 inch lengths on the bias
2 Carrots, sliced thin
12 Mushrooms, cleaned, destemmed and quartered
1 ½ Cups dried semi-pearlized Farro (available at specialty shops)
2 Cups Chicken Stock
Bouquet Garni – Sprig of Rosemary, 2 Sage Leaves and Clove of Garlic -peeled
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a pot place farro, chicken stock and enough water to cover by 1 ½ inches.  Add the bouquet garni.  Bring to a boil and boil for 20-25 minutes until farro is tender.  While the Farro is boiling, bring a pot of water up to boil and add the asparagus and carrots. Par-boil for 4 minutes.  At 3 minutes, add the mushrooms and par-boil for the remaining time.  Immediately drain and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.
Lemon Vinaigrette
¼ Cup freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
Zest of ½ Lemon
1 Small shallot finely chopped
2 Teaspoons finely chopped parsley
½ Teaspoon sugar
1/8 Teaspoon salt
¼ Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ Cup Olive Oil
In a bowl add all the ingredients except the Olive Oil.  Mix until combined.  Slowly whisk in the Olive Oil to make an emulsion.
Drain the farro once cooked and discard the bouquet garni. Let cool and dry.  Add vegetables and toss.  Add the vinaigrette and serve cool.
Glenn and Glenn