I wanted a dish to use some of our local asparagus bounty and also highlight one of our favorite grains from last year’s grain share – emmer (also known as farro). Before a few years ago, I had never tasted emmer, and it’s turned out to be a hit with many of our members – nutty and versatile. So here is a very simple summer dish – hope you enjoy! (Also, I realized after making it that this base would be really delicious with a variety of veggies – broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, etc . . . so use what your bounty is!)
Asparagus Emmer Gratin
1/4 cup emmer (whole grains)
1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped into 1 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup heavy cream (you could use half and half or milk)
1/2 tsp salt
Simmer the emmer in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes. I like to add a tiny piece of seaweed for extra nutrition. Preheat oven to 350.
Meanwhile, get a small pot of water (1 quart) boiling, and add 1 tbsp salt to the water. Add one handful asparagus to the water and blanch for 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. Blanch remaining asparagus the same way, and set aside in a colander to drain.
Whisk together your cream, egg, and salt. Drain emmer once it’s done, and spread in the bottom of a small casserole dish. Spread asparagus on top, and pour egg mixture over. Bake about 20 minutes, or until the gratin is just set. When you move the pan, the edges should be firm and the center should have the slightest jiggle. Let rest a few minutes, then serve hot. We ate ours with coleslaw on the side.