Make a Better Breakfast With Farro, Kale, and Eggs

20170416-Farro-Garlicky-Kale-Egg-2-emily-matt-clifton.jpg

[Photographs: Emily and Matt Clifton]

Breakfast isn't typically an ideal meal for slow food. Our modern lives pack our days with tasks demanding attention: we have kids to get to school, work deadlines to meet, errands pulling us in twenty directions. But while a cup of coffee and a quick carbohydrate filler, like a bowl of cereal or piece of toast, may get us up and out of the house quickly, they hardly constitute a satisfying and well-rounded meal. That's why we try to at least occasionally dedicate a little more time to a breakfast.

To that end, this is one of our favorites, a simple combo of farro, kale, and egg. Farro by itself has a mild, nutty flavor, and cooks up with a pleasantly resilient texture. The only challenge with farro is knowing how long to cook it. You don't want to end up with overly-chewy grains, but you also don't want to cook them to mush. Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all cooking time for it. When the farro is done will depend on the specific variety of the grain, whether it's semi-pearled or whole, and even its age. It doesn't have the predictability of rice, where you can add a specific amount of water and simmer for a predetermined number of minutes.

The best approach, then, is to treat farro like a pasta: Simmer it in salted water, testing its doneness periodically throughout the cooking process. This can be anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes, but we've found that 20 minutes is the ballpark sweet spot. (And honestly, if you do this part ahead and keep the drained farro in the fridge, the rest of this recipe comes together pretty damned quick.)

20170416-Farro-Garlicky-Kale-Egg-3-emily-matt-clifton.jpg

For the kale, we start by sautéing shallots and garlic until soft and aromatic, and then add the chopped greens, cooking just until they wilt. We mix in the farro and add a little red wine vinegar to give it some tartness, which really brightens everything up.

On top of it all we put a perfectly cooked poached egg, the yolk still runny. If you have some Parmesan cheese in the fridge, or a ready supply of chili sauce, both are welcome additions to the plate.

This is what breakfast is meant to be...at least when we have the time. (Don't worry, cereal, we'll still see you bright and early each weekday morning.)