Grains and cider are a match made in heaven, and grain salads are healthy and easy to prepare. In this salad the farro and mushrooms are such an earthy combination especially with the toasted walnuts. The first time I made this my chives were blooming in the garden and they were beautiful in this salad, but snipped chives will do most of the year. The juice from the mushrooms blended with the lemon juice balances all of the flavors in this hearty salad.

Yield: 4–6 Servings

2 cups cooked farro

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste

½ teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste

¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts

2 teaspoons chive blossoms, separated

1 teaspoon chopped chives

½ teaspoon chopped parsley

½ teaspoon lemon thyme

2 tablespoons shallot in 1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ pound asparagus, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths

In a large bowl combine the farro, 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, the lemon juice and zest, chives, parsley and thyme. Set aside

In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté shallots, mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the mushrooms have release their moisture and begun to caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

When cool, add the mushroom mixture to the farro.

Return the pan back on the stove and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring frequently, until just cooked; you want the asparagus just on the other side of raw as it will continue to cook off the heat.

Add the cooked asparagus and walnuts to the farro mixture. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm or room temperature.