Bibim farro, you ask? Yes, bibim farro. Most of you have heard of the ever-popular Korean dish, bibim bap, right? (Bibim bap literally means “mixed rice”). I wanted to challenge myself by putting a Korean spin on one of my favorite ingredients – farro. Farro is an ancient grain, similar to spelt, used primarily in Tuscan cuisine. I have included farro in our weekday menus after trying it for the first time several years ago. I love the texture, its nutty flavor, and heartiness. Sometimes I serve it as a salad by adding chopped plum tomatoes, diced red onions, arugula, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Or I mix it up with a couple of spoonfuls of basil pesto and serve it as a side dish with roasted chicken. The biggest bonus? The under-5 crew in my household loves it.
So back to bibim farro. I included some of my favorite vegetables – baby kale, asparagus, and shiitake mushrooms – to the mix (pun intended), a fried egg (of course), and a sauce that would tie everything together. I found that the typical Korean red pepper sauce overpowered the subtle flavors of everything else in the bowl. The bibim farro sauce I included is essentially chimichurri. The tang from the vinegar and bite from the garlic really wake up the flavors of all the other ingredients in the bowl. There is also a nice play of textures in this dish from the crunch of the asparagus to the creaminess of the egg yolk. This dish is also really easy to put together for a weekday meal.
Notes: Omit the egg if you want to make the dish vegan. You can use the recipe for my bibim farro sauce or you can use your own favorite chimichurri. This dish can easily be halved to 2 servings.
Yields about 4 servings
1 box Tuscan Fields farro (9.1 oz / 260 g)
8 asparagus spears
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
5-6 ounces baby kale, washed and drained
Bibim farro sauce (recipe below)
1 – Prepare bibim farro sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2 – In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 6 cups of water, salted, to a boil. Add the farro to the pot, cover, and lower heat to medium low. Let simmer for about 18-20 minutes or until the farro is tender. Drain, rinse with cool water, drain again, and set aside.
3 – Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and saute mushrooms until browned. Add a pinch of salt and toss. Remove mushrooms and set aside. Wipe skillet with a dry paper towel. Be careful not to burn yourself!
4 – In the same heated skillet, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add baby kale and saute until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt while cooking. Remove kale and set aside.
5 – Wash asparagus. Trim the spears of the tough white-colored base so that the tender portion of the spear remains. Cut spears crosswise in thin slices so you’re left with tiny discs.
6 – Divide the farro into 4 equal portions (about 1 cup each) and place each portion into a separate serving bowl. Then divide each of the vegetables into 4 equal portions and spoon on top of the farro in each bowl.
7 – Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and fry each egg either sunny side up or over easy; whatever you prefer. Place a cooked egg on top of the vegetables in each bowl.
8 – Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of bibim farro sauce over the egg.
9 – To eat, mix the contents of the bowl until evenly coated with the egg yolk and sauce. Enjoy!
Bibim Farro Sauce a.k.a. Chimichurri
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/8 cup finely chopped cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and garlic and let set for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. The sauce is ready to eat right away, but it’s best if you let the mixture site for a few hours to allow for all the flavors to meld together.
Tuscan Fields, provider of organic, Italian farro, is offering a scholarship to this spring’s Eat Write Retreat conference in Philadelphia. Tuscan Fields sent me a free sample of their farro so that I could create a recipe for a chance to win a scholarship. Wish me luck!