Friday, May 13, 2011

Rosie Makes A Light Spring Barley Salad. Squash And Zucchini.

Dixie is chillin' after our little jaunt around the hood this morning.
While she was dreaming of chasing cars, jumping and swimming in the pool, and lots of other fun doggie things she likes to do, I was fixing a barley salad for lunch. Barley. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? You'd be surprised. What is barley? Barley is a cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It has a rich, nutty flavor, and an almost chewy, pasta-like consistency. The grain is available for cooking in two forms: Scotch, or hulled barley, and pearled barley. Hulled barley, which requires 2-3 hours cooking time, is barley in which the outer husk, or hull, is removed, but the bran is preserved. This type is most often found in health food stores. Pearled barley, is the most common form of barley for human consumption. Pearled barley has been processed to remove both hull and bran. The hull is fibrous and inedible. The bran is the hard outer layer of the grain. When the bran is removed, the grains will lose a portion of its nutritional value. When pearl barley is processed, it's steamed and polished to reduce cooking time. During this process, the entire outer husk is removed, leaving the center, or pearl.
Here's what's going into my salad. Pearled barley. Squash. Zucchini. I know it doesn't look like much yet, but you're going to have to trust Rosie on this.
I rinsed my barley first, then poured it into salted boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover loosely. Cook about 40 minutes.
Next I tiny-diced my squash and zucchini. Aren't my roses pretty?
1/4-inch dice.
The squash and zucchini got a quick 30-second bath in boiling, salted water.
After 30 seconds, immediately rinse in cold water.
I figured you'd probably like to see some pics of my roses.

Too bad you can't smell these.

After about 40 minutes of cook time, I rinsed my barley in cold water.
After a purposeful stroll through my garden, I came back inside with parsley, dill, and tarragon.
1/4 cup mayo
Add in a tablespoon of rice vinegar.

Then I minced my herbs. About 2 TB parsley. Maybe a tablespoon of dill. A scant teaspoon of tarragon.
Add to mayo, vinegar mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste.

Pour dressing over barley and veggies and mix well.
This is a lovely, delicate salad that packs a punch in both texture and flavor. You've got the crispness of the veggies, the chewiness of the barley, the creaminess of the dressing. You've got the tart of the vinegar and the freshness of the herbs. In most every bite, you taste the parsley, but in some bites you get more of the dill, and every now and then, you get a hint of tarragon, and that's all you want - just enough to tease. Another one you need to trust Rosie on. Have I ever let you down?


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try this, I think I'll be able to get most of the herbs from my garden, and my squash and zucchini are well on their way to my plate, unless I'm flooded, wait and see time for me!
Mona from NOLA
P.S. Never made barley, should it be crunchy or mushy?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hi Mona. The barley shouldn't be crunchy or mushy. Should be toothy - al dente. Cook according to directions. Mine said about 40 minutes but it didn't take that long. Taste test!