For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been in no-food-shopping mode.
With the exception of fresh produce, I just cannot bring myself to buy anything. No flour — we have too much already. No pasta — we’re slowly making our way through our collection. Definitely no more canned foods — it’s all I can do to finish off the ones we already have stored in towers under the sink.
And definitely no grains.
The predicament is a familiar one: With erev Pesach looming, how do you use up all that stuff sitting in your freezer and pantry? Or, more to the point: WHY DID I BUY SO MUCH BARLEY!?
But then I did a quick little search of barley recipes on Smitten Kitchen. And I found this beauty.
And everything was okay again.
My version of this barley salad is a bit more low-maintenance than the one on SK. I left out the olives, red onion, scallions, and fresh mint (not to mention the coriander and cayenne) not because I don’t like those things, but because I didn’t think the dish really needed them.
Briefly sauteing the barley grains in cumin-laced olive oil before cooking is such a great touch. And by the time you throw in roasted eggplant and zucchini, pretty lil’ cherry tomatoes, and a handful of fresh parsley, all it needs is a light but flavorful dressing to tie it all together.
If you’ve got barley lying around, make this for Shabbos. Or for dinner.
Or both. I won’t stop you.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 medium eggplant, cubed
- 2-3 zucchini, cubed
- 10 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1¼ cups pearl barley
- 1¾ cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ¾ cup water
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
- a handful or two of chopped fresh parsley
1. First, roast eggplant and zucchini: Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C.
2. Toss cubed eggplant and zucchini with 5 Tbsp oil to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or (lightly greased) aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and roast until vegetables are golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
3. Next, cook barley: Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a pot over medium/high heat and stir in cumin, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Pour in barley and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) until all the liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add water as needed. Set aside to cool.
4. While it’s cooling, whisk together 3 Tbsp oil, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, ¼ tsp more of salt, and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Transfer barley to a large bowl and mix with dressing. Add roasted vegetables, halved tomatoes, and parsley and toss together.
Serve warm or room temp. Can easily be made a day ahead (which makes this perfect for a Shabbos lunch dish).