Recipe: Aria chef Eron Novalski’s hearty farro salad with porcini vinaigrette

Recipe: Aria chef Eron Novalski’s hearty farro salad with porcini vinaigrette

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Farro Salad

By Eron Novalski
By Eron Novalski

PREP TIME: 1 hour
COOK TIME: 50 minutes
Serves 6


1 cup dried porcini or mixed mushrooms, about 20 g
4 cups boiling water
½ shallot, chopped
1 tbsp roasted garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup grape seed oil
¼ cup olive oil


1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup walnut halves
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
½ tbsp unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
1 ½ cup whole farro
½ cup dry white wine
1 radicchio head, quartered
Kosher salt to taste
Sprouts or shoots for garnish

1. Pour boiling water over porcini mushrooms. Soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Place apricots in a bowl along with walnuts and 2 tbsp olive oil. Add chopped herbs and salt to taste. Toss and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden, stirring halfway through. Cool to room temperature.

2. To prepare vinaigrette, drain mushrooms (reserve liquid) and place mushrooms in a food processor with shallots, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon and 2 tbsp of reserved mushroom liquid. Slowly add ¼ cup grape seed oil and ¼ cup olive oil to emulsify. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, melt ½ tbsp butter with 3 tbsp oil, add onion and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Add farro. Stir for 5 minutes until toasted. Reduce heat. Slowly pour in wine. Scrape up any brown bits. Cook until partially reduced. Add remaining mushroom liquid. Reduce heat so mixture simmers. Cook, uncovered, for 35 to 45 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Spread farro on a baking sheet and let cool.

4. Meanwhile, drizzle radicchio with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn to coat. Add radicchio to hot, oiled frying pan. Char 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Place radicchio back in bowl. Zest lemon and squeeze juice overtop. Toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let cool completely.

5. Assemble salad by placing farro and apricot mixture in a large bowl. Add porcini vinaigrette. Salt to taste. Thinly slice charred radicchio and sprinkle on salad.

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Farro SaladERON NOVALSKI

Aria is one of the city’s poshest dining rooms, and executive chef Eron Novalski sends out artfully composed plates, but his cooking is Old World rustic at heart. He developed his high-low style during travels in Italy and through years of cooking at Noce, Aria’s Queen West counterpart. A prime example is his farro salad, built around a humble grain. Its nutty flavour complements the autumnal combination of mushrooms, walnuts and dried apricots. The charred radicchio adds smokiness to the plate, which is elegant enough for a dinner party but simple enough for a weekend lunch.

Recipes developed by Victoria Walsh. Recipe photography by Ryan Szulc. Illustrations by Aleksandar Janicijevic. Interviews by Meaghan Binstock, Chantal Braganza, Matthew Hague, Peter Saltsman, Courtney Shea and Caroline Youdan.