Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shiitake and Pepper Barley Salad

So a while back I stumbled upon the eating down the fridge project on someone's blog (can't remember who) and thought that was a great idea. Now that I am down to my last 4ish weeks in France I have liked that idea more and more but for me, since we have a fridge the size of a breadbox, its going to be "eating down the pantry." I started with the barley. I brought this barley all the way from 'Merica! I couldn't think of anyone to give it to at home before leaving so I just brought it with me.

This salad is super versatile. You can serve it hot or cold (I prefer cold actually), with sauteed veggies or roasted, or just as marinated barley if you so wish it! The firs few times I made it I used roasted tomatoes, peppers, red onion and garlic and it turned out swell. I will give you directions for making the barley salad pictured here and the dressing but really you can put anything veggie wise on this.

Barley Salad
1 cup Barley
package of shiitake, cleaned with a damp rag, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil

Note: Barley is a 3 to 1 ratio. For two people 1 cup of barley boiled in 3 cups of water should be more than enough. But should you want to feed a lot of people just remember the ratio and work from there.

1. Place 1 cup of pearled barley in a small pot with 3 cups cold water. Bring the barley to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Know this: Usually barley is simmered for an hour and 15 minutes! This makes it...well mushy in my opinion. I like to boil it for 30-40 and that way it still has a chewy texture - but do whatever you prefer here.
2. While the barley is cooking heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over med high heat in a pan. Add the shiitake. Cook the shiitake until they release their juice, then reduce the heat and let them simmer for the next 20 minutes or so.
3. In a separate pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the onions and yellow pepper first. After a few minutes add the garlic. Sauté until the veggies are soft and golden.
4. When the barley is done (it will have tripled in size and soaked up and boiled off the water it was originally in) fluff it with a fork. Prepare the dressing(see below). Divide the barley up onto your plates, top with the shiitakes, peppers, and finally the dressing. Mix well.

Barley Salad Dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Mix the ingredients in a bowl with a wisk, or throw it in a cup with a lid and shake.

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