When you get the opportunity to cook in the kitchen with one of the most successful women in the history of the food industry, your year is officially made. We had the chance to cook up this fresh and delicious warm farro bowl with Gail Simmons in her kitchen in Brooklyn on our last trip to NYC, and I have been attempting to perfect it ever since. It’s packed with fresh ingredients that can be altered a bit, depending on what’s in season. Scroll down for the amazing recipe and Gail’s sage advice on cooking it up for yourself at home!
The best grain bowls combine hearty ingredients, great textures and lively flavors. They also require a little extra time to prepare, due to their multiple components. Don’t let this deter you, though—the effort is more than worth it! Here, freshly chopped herbs, a quick pickle and a lemony dressing, plus earthy farro and roasted vegetables can all be prepared ahead, making assembly super swift when it’s time to eat.
Bowls make great lunches for taking to work—tuck each element into its own corner of a recycled take-out container or bento lunch box, and tote along the dressing in a small sealed jar.
Kitchen Wisdom: All of the cooked and prepped elements in this recipe keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days. Let the farro and cooked vegetables come to room temperature, or gently warm, just before eating. Keep the boiled eggs refrigerated and unpeeled until you’re ready to eat. Pro Tip: Add thinly sliced leeks to the mushrooms while you cook them. I also recommend adding roasted butternut squash or sweet potato to the final bowl as seasonal add-ins.
—By Gail Simmons. Adapted from Bringing It Home: Favorites Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating by Gail Simmons, Grand Central Publishing, 2017.
- 1 small head cauliflower (about 3/4 pound), leaves removed and thinly sliced, florets and core cut into 1-inch pieces
- 7 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 cup farro
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 pound shiitake or wild mushrooms, stemmed, caps quartered
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mix of finely chopped tender herbs (including two or more of the following: mint, chives, tarragon, chervil and/or basil), divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups thinly sliced kale leaves
- Heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss together the cauliflower florets and core pieces on the baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a generous pinch of pepper, then spread in a single layer. Roast, stirring once halfway through, until golden and tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and cauliflower leaves; let cool on a wire rack.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, toss together the red onion, vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; set aside.
- In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the farro until tender but still firm to the bite, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; set aside. Rinse out the saucepan.
- Fill the saucepan with clean water and bring to a boil. Using a spoon, gently lower the eggs into the water and cook for 7 minutes. Drain, then rinse the eggs under cold running water for 1 minute; set aside.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring just once or twice, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, 2 tablespoons of the mixed herbs and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a slow and steady stream whisk in 3 tablespoons of the oil; set the dressing aside.
- To the farro, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, a generous pinch pepper, the remaining 1/2 cup chopped herbs, and 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and toss to combine.
- Drain the vinegar from the onions. Peel the eggs under cold running water, then cut them in half lengthwise.
- Divide the farro, cauliflower, mushrooms, and kale among four large shallow serving bowls. Arrange the egg halves and pickled onions on top. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.