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Mediterranean Mussels with Farro

Mediterranean Mussels with Farro

Serves 3 or 4 as a light main course, or 4 to 6 as a starter
Course Entree
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 480 kcal
Author Maria Speck

Ingredients

Farro

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup farro
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 whole peppercorns
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Stew

  • 2 pounds fresh mussels in their shells
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion about 1 small
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots about 2 small
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery stalks 1 to 2 pieces
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh or diced canned tomatoes with their juices (one 14-ounce can)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

To finish

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice plus lemon wedges to serve
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. To prepare the farro, bring the water, farro, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the grain is tender but still slightly chewy, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, drain any remaining liquid, and set aside.
  2. While the farro simmers, rinse the mussels under cold running water, brushing to remove sand and residue on the shells. Remove the beards (hairy clumps around the shell) with tweezers or a sharp knife. Discard chipped mussels. Tap any open mussels and discard if they don’t close. Set the cleaned mussels aside.
  3. To make the stew, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, the bay leaves, chile, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add 1/4 cup of the white wine, and cook until syrupy and the liquid is almost gone, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the water, the remaining 11/4 cups white wine, the pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, at a lively simmer until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the mussels and the farro together with the remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and steam over medium to medium-high heat, shaking the pot once or twice in between, until the mussels open, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and discard any unopened mussels.
  5. To finish, add the lemon juice. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust. Drizzle the mussels with the olive oil and serve right away in deep plates, garnished with parsley and with lemon wedges on the side.

Recipe Notes

To get a head start: Make the farro, as in step 1, ahead. The stew, as in step 3, can be prepared up to 3 days ahead. Reheat before adding the mussels and farro, as in step 4. The mussels should be bought the day they are cooked. For a speedy, light dish, omit the farro altogether, and do not add the water to the stew.

To vary it: Easily available and affordable pearl barley plumps up nicely to compete with farro in this dish, or simply use leftover brown rice. You will need about 2 cups cooked grain.

Reprinted with permission from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Sara Remington © 2011