The general thrust of the present menu is to feature the products that are available for a brief time, available only in their unique season. At this time of year the focus shifts from fresh vegetables and herbs to the larder and pantry. Grains, dairy and preservation items are some of the ingredients that are presently available thanks to purveyors like Anson Mills, Mt. Crawford Creamery and Keep Well Vinegar.
From these artisans we source farro, butter and farro miso respectively to make this dish for the second course of The Present Menu. Farro is cooked in a broth made from the farro miso. The miso adds layers of flavor and complexity. An additional layer is added by blending the miso with Mt. Crawford’s butter. This combination is employed to gently cook the whites of leeks. Once cooked the leeks are reserved and the miso-butter is added to the farro to add creaminess and additional flavor. The green tops of the leeks are charred in the hearth and then turned to ash, which is swirled into the Mt. Crawford butter. A small quenelle of this garnishes the farro along with the melted leeks.
This is a simple dish of cooked grains that is a little like a bassoon solo. Surrounded by other instruments, the bassoon may not get much solo play, but a well versed player can make the instrument sing. This time of year brings a grain like farro to the forefront and permits it to be celebrated and amplified thanks to the synergies with its own miso and the enriching properties of dairy.