We don’t usually think of spring as a time of abundance. After all, most of us are still planting – or planning – our gardens. Abundance is a term we reserve for fall, with its harvest bounty. Still, for a brief time in the spring, Idaho’s mountains, streams, and ditch banks yield up treasures: morels, asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, and baby greens. You’ll find them all at the Modern’s restaurant, where a friendly delivery person from Idaho’s Bounty stops by with the seasonal goo
Our chefs, Nate Whitley and Alex Cardoza, are incorporating as many seasonal elements into a their dishes as possible. Nightly specials and brunch items currently feature this produce of the moment. But hurry, the season will change quickly and the chance to enjoy these culinary delights won’t last long.
Morels with Farro and Peas
cup farro, rinsed
1 cup fresh sweet peas
one handful of fresh spinach
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces morel mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
¼ c dry sherry
1 ½ c vegetable stock
Parmesan cheese to taste
Bring 4 quarts water to boil. Add farro and 1 tablespoon salt. Return to boil, reduce to simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
In a shallow saute pan, bring ¼ inch of water to a boil. Add the peas and cook until they turn bright green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then plunge the peas into ice water to shock them. Drain, and set aside.
Heat a saute pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add a small bit of butter to the pan. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the mushrooms. Shake around the pan and salt well. After about 30 seconds add 1 sliced garlic clove. When the garlic starts to brown, deglaze the pan with sherry. Allow the sherry to reduce a little, then add a splash of vegetable stock and a tablespoon of butter. Reduce this while swirling the pan around to emulsify the butter. Finish with fresh chopped chives.
In a small pot, combine the farro with about ¾ c of vegetable stock. Heat this, once hot, add the peas. Season the pot with salt, a squeeze of half a lemon, a tablespoon of butter, and some fresh grated parmesan. Add the handful of spinach and stir it in until it just wilts.
Carefully spoon the farro mixture into bowls with a slotted spoon. Then pour a small pool of broth over the farro. Top with fresh grated parmesan, and the sauteed morels