I tested Carla Lalli Music’s Fried Grains with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Kimchi recipe (p.124 in her James Beard Award-winning cookbook Where Cooking Begins ). As a fan of Carla’s former test kitchen show, on the channel that shall not be named, I wanted to test one of her more layered recipes from her book.
The instructions seemed simple enough and truthfully, she had me at kimchi. I haven’t had much experience with wheat berries which, after making this recipe, I will definitely eat more of. The flavours were luscious and the textures made it feel like a hearty meal. I undercooked the egg a bit, but that was my error and not from the book’s instructions. To top it off, the end result looked close enough to the image as well.
✰✰✰✰✰ this one is a TRY, for sure.
Carla Lalli Music’s Fried Grains with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Kimchi
- 7 teaspoons vegetable oil divided, plus more if needed
- 2 ounces bacon preferably thick-cut, sliced crosswise into ¾-inch pieces
- 8 ounces mushrooms such as hen of the woods and/or shiitake, stems removed, caps torn
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups cooked wheat berries farro, or brown rice
- 1 cup kimchi drained and roughly chopped, liquid reserved
- Handful of chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 2 large eggs
- Toasted sesame oil and hot sauce for serving (optional)
- In a 1O-inch skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat until just warm, less than a minute. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small plate with a slotted spoon.
- Add mushrooms to drippings, increase heat to medium-high, season with salt, and toss to coat. Cook undisturbed until the mushrooms start to release some of their liquid and the undersides are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Loosen mushrooms from pan, scraping with a wooden spoon if needed, and toss. Cook until other sides are browned and mushrooms are tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Taste one to make sure. Transfer mushrooms to plate with bacon.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet, then add grains and season with salt. If skillet looks dry or there’s not enough oil to coat the grains, drizzle in more oil. Saute grains undisturbed until starting to crisp, about 2 minutes. Toss grains, then cook undisturbed until they’re more or less evenly toasted and light golden brown, but not dried out, about 2 minutes more. (Whole grains have their outer hull intact, which makes them pleasantly chewy, but they can dry out and get tough if overcooked.)
- Add kimchi and cook until it releases some juices, about 1 minute. Continue cooking until liquid evaporates and the bottom of the pan starts to brown. Remove from heat, return mushrooms and bacon to skillet with any accumulated juices, along with the reserved kimchi juice and cilantro. Toss to combine and rewarm the mushrooms and the bacon, about 30 seconds. Spoon fried grain mixture onto a platter.
- Return skillet to medium-high heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Crack eggs into pan and season with salt. Cook until browned at edges, whites are set, but yolks are still runny (or not, if that’s your preference), 3 to 4 minutes. Serve grains topped with fried eggs and with sesame oil and hot sauce for seasoning, if desired.
Spin It (substitutions)
- Use any fresh mushrooms, such as cremini or oyster
- Thinly sliced carrots, onions, or green cabbage can replace mushrooms
- Scallion greens or basil instead of cilantro
- Extra-virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil
- Ground pork or beef, or small peeled shrimp, instead of bacon
- Water or chicken stock for kimchi liquid