Thursday, August 18, 2011

great grains

I love big filling salads on a summer night, based around some good old starch. Pasta or grains, please. And with grains, there are endless choices. I do lots of salads with quinoa, wheat berries, different rices, freekeh, farro, bulgur, spelt; the list goes on and on. This week, it was barley, a grain I usually only use in soups, but has a wonderfully nutty flavor and satisfying bite when cooked and cooled.

The great thing about having a variety of grains in your pantry is how easy it makes improvising a meal after you've raided the farmer's market for the freshest veg you can find. There's always a base to work off of, they keep for ages, and they keep things interesting. Recipe for my barley, heirloom tomato, arugula, zucchini, mozzarella salad after the jump:


1 cup whole grain barley
1 lb heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 medium zuchinni, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly
3 or 4 big handfuls of baby arugula
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 lb fresh salted mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing:
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepot. Add the barley, bring down heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 35-40 minutes until tender. (You can also soak your barley overnight, which cuts the cooking time down to about 15 minutes. You need less water to cook if you soaked it). Fluff the barley with a fork and set aside to cool well. You can cook the barley well ahead of time and cool it in the fridge so that it's ready for the salad any time.

In a large bowl, toss the cooled barley with all of the vegetables. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and dress to taste, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Top with the cubed mozzarella.


Lula said...

Love it. I think this is a really good salad for when you're trying to lose weight. Like me. Barley is great for you and the dressing (the same that I use) is the one we should all use! Ranch, and all those add so many calories to a salad you might as well eat a burguer.

Yours looks appetizing. I totally forgot about barley, I am gonna but some today!

Anonymous said...

Wow at the color combinations and your photographs.