Is there something wrong with me?


At a catered meeting today at work, I had a few extra sandwiches available, so I wrapped them up and brought them home. Dinner, one could easily think. Yet…before the day was over, I had my heart set on cooking up a Farro Risotto dish and, in the meantime, a Lyonnaise Salad seemed like an excellent side. French and Italian. I could’ve taken the easy way out with these prepared sandwiches, but…well, that was no fun.

Immediately, the evening got complicated. As this had been designated a ‘lets not veg out in front of the damned tv night,‘ I was set. Cooking these two dishes required a few extra steps…see below-

– soak farro in boiling water for thirty minutes
– cook bacon lardons and reserve the rendered fat
– soak dried porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid
– poach an egg
– a helluva lot of chopping

Still, this doesn’t sway me–the process is so interesting to me, even if done a zillion times before, because each dish tells you something…or at least, the results will. Too much of one thing may overpower a dish, too little could get lost (I’m adding shrimp to this dish–will it be lost or simply serve as a protein additive?). The dried porcinis will provide a very strong flavor, no doubt. I am plopping a lobster mushroom in there, as well (smells like lobster, duh) and there’s the farro itself. Is it a strong grain flavor? Too nutty? I won’t really know till the finish.

And the Salade Lyonnaise? How will that be? I’ve never made it before, but at least I don’t have to worry about my egg-poaching skills. Still, its a warmed salad dressing so timing will be important. Agh. A lot for a weeknight.

First, the Salad Lyonnaise. Starting with a couple of ounces of frisée, I tear half of a head into shreds and place in a bowl. Taking a thick piece of slab bacon, I slide into lardons (1/4 inch width-wise across the grain) and fry it up till crisp.

Meanwhile, the egg is poached. 3-4 minutes to a soft boiled state. Reserve in some warm water. Add a tablespoon of shallot and briefly sautée for about 30 seconds. Add a tablespoon of red vinegar and a half teaspoon of Dijon mustard to this as well as the crisp bacon bits and pour over the frisée greens.

Plop the poached (duck in this case) egg over the greens, sprinkle some nice salt and pepper over the mess, and eat. Delicious. Simple. Wife thought it needed more acid but I was fine with the balance. Added a tad too much salt but overall, a damned good dish.

The farro risotto, well…we didn’t eat any that night. We shared the sandwich and the salad as the risotto would take another 20 minutes to cook. Cool.

The farro risotto was very nice. Nice mushroomy ‘sauce’, and good enough for a weeknight. It seemed to have some nice layers of flavor from the onion, dried mushroom, lobster mushroom, and the wine. Very pleased with it.