Prep 10 mins Cook 30 mins Eat 30 mins
For those who dream of getting a delicious meal on the table in less than 30 minutes, Fresh Food in a Flash lived up to its name at this month’s cooking class! Students created amazing dishes from Baked Polenta with Tomato-Sausage Sauce to Tequila Chicken Fettucine in rapid order. Today I’m posting the Italian Farro Salad with Fava or Soy Beans. Look for more postings this week of more 30-Minute Meals.
With the first fava beans coming into season now, I was excited to try out my new Italian Farro Salad with Fava or Soybeans. Watch for farro to become the next “hot” heirloom grain that you will begin to see on your supermarket shelves – at least I hope so because I really like it and it is currently difficult to find. I obtained my farro from two sources – Melissa’s, who just launched this new product and Marx Foods, who kindly sent some to me in a goodie box. I also found an Italian brand at Bristol Farms Market. Farro is an Italian whole wheat berry. It stays al dente once cooked and has a great nutty flavor. Try it, you’ll like it!
If you’ve never eaten fava beans they are different than other beans as they have an inner and outer shell. I prefer to shell my favas and cook them ever so gently for a fresh taste. When you cook them there will be a translucent shell around the bean that is edible. If you have larger more mature beans, then you may want to peel the bean of the inner shell as it may be tough. If fava beans are not available, use soybeans (fresh or frozen) in this salad or use a combination of both.
This dish can be prepared in 30 minutes when you multi-task. Get a pot of water on the stove while you run some hot water in a small bowl for the mushrooms. Once you have these two tasks underway, then you can work with your vegetables to complete the dish. Once everything is cooked, it is a quick assemble process and on to eating! Porcini mushrooms are only available dried in this country. They are pricey, but a little goes a long way, because the flavor is very intense. Save the soaking liquid in the freezer and use in place of stock in a sauce or soup.
Italian Farro and Fava or Soy Bean Salad
- 1/4 cup dried Porcini mushrooms
- 1 1/3 cup Italian Farro
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 leek cleaned and sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 1 rib celery, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz fava beans or soy beans (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 cups leaf lettuce or baby salad greens
- 1/4 cup cheese shavings from hard cheese – pecorino, parmigiano, manchego
1. Soak dried mushrooms in about 2-3 cups hot water from the tap. Leave sit on the counter for 15 minutes or more…until mushrooms are rehydrated. Drain when ready to use in salad. Save liquid (minus sand at bottom) for another recipe like a soup. Chop mushrooms fine – mince like garlic – and set aside.
2. Rinse the farro in a colander under running water until clear. Cook the farro in boiling salted water for about 20-30 minutes until farro is al dente. Farro will be soft, but crunchy. Once the farro is cooked, drain the farro and place in your salad bowl.
3. While mushrooms are soaking and farro is cooking, prep vegetables. Coat skillet with olive oil and turn to medium heat. Add leek, fennel, celery, and cook until soft. Add drained mushrooms when they are ready, along with minced garlic and fava or soy beans and cook until heated through and beans are tender crisp. When done, add to the salad bowl.
4. Assemble salad in bowl by combining farro, vegetable mixture, thyme leaves. Toss mixture and then add in salad greens or serve on a bed of lettuce. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with additional olive oil. Divide among plates and shave cheese over the top. Serve.
Servings: 4; Calories per Serving 191