Barley Refrigerator Salad

I haven't been sharing too much about our CSA food box this year. Mostly because it's same ol', same ol'.

Sometimes it's the exact same thing that we still have from last year... Like our pearl barley. I made one recipe last year when we first received a bag of pearl barley as our pantry item. It was a not-so-great barley risotto. I'm not sure why anyone would mess with a classic, delicious risotto made with arborio rice (like my usual tomato and thyme risotto) so I decided not to write a post about the barley risotto. Didn't want to give anyone any ideas. Maybe I should dig up the pictures and write a post to file under "yucky".

Another recipe I had been meaning to try was this Ontario Winter Barley Salad. But I kept putting it off because I never had the right ingredients.

When that second bag of pearl barley came in our food box, I decided right-ingredients or not, I need to get cracking on eating some barley! Time to pull out that recipe and do some substitutions.

Instead of butternut squash, I used beets. Actually just one beet. Because it was HUGE. Instead of green beans, I used shelled edamame; the spinach was replaced with young baby kale. I added a tomato that needed to be eaten.

Basically, I added whatever I had in the refrigerator. Hence, Barley Refrigerator Salad.

Here is the "recipe" that ensued from this week's refrigerator ingredients:

Barley Refrigerator Salad from March 13, 2011

1 cup pearl barley
1 giant beet (about the size of a softball; for those that don't play softball, it was the size of a large florida orange)
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
handful of young baby kale
1 super ripe tomato (that my housemate left behind before leaving for Korea for March break), diced
1/2 cup frozen edamame, steamed/microwaved and shelled
1 large shallot, finely diced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp each)

The original recipe instructs to boil the barley in vegetable stock and then eventually drain: what a waste. So I just boiled the barley in salted water along with the beet (which I scrubbed and cut in half).  When the barley was about done (about 30 mins of boiling, you can test by taking a nibble) I added the frozen corn to blanch it, about 1 minute. Drain everything. If the beet is fork tender before everything else is ready, then you can remove it from the pot beforehand.

While the beets, barley, and corn are cooling, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to form a vinaigrette.

Peel and dice the beet when it's cool enough to handle. Put the beets in a large bowl and pour half of the vinaigrette over top. Beets always taste better when you season them while warm, especially if there's a tangy vinaigrette involved.

I usually need a little more time to finish dicing my veggies or to add another refrigerator ingredient. Getting those beets dressed means you can now take all the time in the world.

When ready, mix all the rest of the salad ingredients with the beets, adding as much vinaigrette as you like.


OneCraftyFox  – (March 22, 2011 at 9:23 PM)  

This look delish, and I love barley!!

Emily  – (May 7, 2011 at 9:05 AM)  

I like neither beets nor barley, but the salad sure is pretty.

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