Hope everyone has had a nice relaxing Memorial Day. We had a little family get together and grilled various and assorted meats, and I put together this unusual salad to go along with it.
I saw Alton Brown praising all things barley on one of his episodes, and this was one of the dishes he made. He is using "hulled" barley which I couldn't find. I think it is somewhat less processed than the pearl barley that I used.
You have to start with 3 1/2 to 4 cups baked barley. Alton says to combine one cup barley with one tbsp unsalted butter, tsp kosher salt and 2 cups boiling water. Cover very tightly and bake at 375 for 1 hour. Remove cover and fluff with a fork. (apparently this step is very important...don't skip it or he will hunt you down like a dawg!) Picky girl child actually liked this...as is!
The dressing is easy enough. It's 3 tbsp of fresh orange juice with a little kosher salt and 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil. (I think for kicks a splash of some sort of vinegar would be great in there too).
Next combine the barley with: 1 small head of chopped fennel, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 4 slices crumbled (cooked) bacon, 2 tbsp fresh parsley, and fresh ground black pepper.Combine it all with the dressing, and refrigerate about 1 hour.
I really enjoyed this dish, and thought it was a nice change from the usual pasta salad. Would definitely try it again!