Friday, November 6, 2015

Crispy Farro Cakes – All Killer, No Filler

I had some crispy farro cakes at a restaurant a while back, and thought they would make for an interesting video, but when I started to research various recipes and techniques, I discovered something a little surprising; there was no such thing as a “pure” farro cake.

Every recipe I came across had some type of filler used to help bind the mixture together. I didn’t really understand this, until I proceeded to make a batch using nothing but cooked and cooled farro. They completely fell apart in the pan, and I ended up with something more like crispy fried rice. Not a bad thing by any means, but not farro cakes.

After a few more experiments, I discovered that by using a little egg, and a touch of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, I was able to make it work with no non-ancient grain additions. The whole key is the crust. By letting the first side cook until a well-browned, crispy surface forms, the cakes develop enough structure to make the flip possible.

One thing I failed to mention in the clip; you should check your mixture for seasoning before frying the cakes. I used a good amount of salt when I cooked my farro, but you should still taste and adjust.

And while these were great with the crème fraiche and golden trout roe, there are so many ways these could be otherwise used. As usual, I’ll be lurking on Twitter and Instagram to see what you come up with, so fair warning. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 6 farro cakes:
1 cup farro, not rinsed
3 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 springs thyme
3 garlic cloves, finely minced or crushed
1/2 cup finely diced onion
- simmer covered about 45 minutes until very tender, drain well, but DO NOT rinse

Then add:
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce (about a 2-inch square piece) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (if you use real Parmigiano Reggiano, and grate it on a microplane, you’ll get about 3/4 of a cup)
1 large egg
pinch cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil for frying


arwiv said...

The comment about Charro at the end (if we knew what cuchi cuchi referred to we are way too old to know about "hashtags") was hilarious.

Unknown said...

Some 'paleo' chefs use crushed pork rinds to bind ingredients. Now I have to hunt for 'farro'.

Unknown said...

Hey Chef John! Again you did the ole "tucka tucka" of the plastic wrap on top of the food instead of at the top of the bowl - is there a benefit to that vs just covering the top?

bdwilcox said...

A cake so delicious, when someone asks if they can have one you say, "No, that's Mia Farro."

Ben said...

Looks great. Would it work with barley (easy to find) instead of farro (not so easy to find)?

Ben said...

Carl, the advantage is the mixture isn't exposed to air like it would be if you just covered the top. Depending on what's in the bowl and how long it's there, air can have a surprising significant negative effect and cause the mixture to oxidize while it sits around. It keeps it fresher.

Chef John said...

Never tried barley, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

Unknown said...

Pimento Cheese Faro sounds like an interesting combination. I am going to try that tomorrow.

Julia said...

#cuchicuchi :D I'm of the rare variety that understands that reference AND hashtags! Hey, how old is Charo, anyway?

P.S. These look great. :)

Jen Mo said...

Hi cousin John! #cuchicuchi made me laugh out loud! I'm making these cakes today!

Chef John said...

Hey there! I hope you enjoy them! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Unknown said...
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