Friday, November 22, 2013

Pearl Barley Salad with Pistachios, Fava & Pomegranate

Pearl Barley Salad with Pistachios, Favas & Pomegranate 2

This week is Pot Luck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  That means we get to choose and post any dish we like from either our current IHCC chef, the lovely Donna Hay, or any one of our previous eight chefs, which includes my personal favourite, the highly inspirational Yotam Ottolenghi.

Donna, meet Yotam ... Yotam, meet Donna.


I was a bit torn between two different recipes.  In her latest issue spring issue of Donna Hay magazine, Donna has a recipe for a Pearl Barley, Asparagus and Egg Salad.  It's so delicious I've made it a couple of times and wanted to share it with you.  With no "wilty stuff", it's the perfect salad for picnics and barbeques that can be made in advance and won't mind sitting around for a while.  With pistachios being our ingredient of the month at Tasting Jerusalem**, I was also quite keen to try Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe for Saffron Rice with Barberries, Pistachio & Mixed Herbs.

In the end, I took inspiration from both recipes, and came up with a dish which is a happy marriage of both.  I ran with the pearl barley used in Donna's recipe as opposed to the basmati rice in Ottolenghi's recipe - I love the nutty, chewy flavour and texture of the barley and found that it stands up well to plenty of bold flavour additions, like the saffron called for in the Ottolenghi recipe.  We don't have barberries here in New Zealand (leastwise not that I've found anywhere), but with the abundance of pomegranates available at the moment I decided they would make a great substitute.  Donna's recipe called for the inclusion of almonds, but the pistachios included in the Ottolenghi recipe seemed like the obvious choice.  I would have loved to use the mixture of fresh herbs, suggested by Ottolenghi, of dill, chervil and tarragon, but as I couldn't find any of those, I ran with flat leaf parsley.  I omitted the asparagus used in Donna's recipe in favour of fava (broad beans) picked fresh from the garden, and inspired by so many Ottolenghi dishes I've enjoyed, I added a generous slosh of pomegranate molasses to the dressing.  In hindsight, I'm thinking that some finely slice preserved lemon would also make a great addition to this salad.

Now, digressing for a moment, can you guess what this is?

Greece 259

I actually ran this photo a bit over three years ago, and there were numerous guesses for olives and grapes.  In actual fact it's pistachios.  I took this photo while I was holidaying on Paros in the Greek islands, and was fascinated to come across a whole field of pistachio trees.

Back to the recipe.  The final addition is a couple of soft boiled eggs.  I know not everyone likes runny eggs, but to be perfectly honest, if you don't like eggs with ooey, gooey, runny yolks, I would forget about adding them to this dish - I think it's the contrasting texture of the soft eggs with the chewy barley and crunchy nuts and pomegranate, as well as the oozing egg yolk combining with the other dressing ingredients that makes this dish.  I don't think a hard boiled egg would really add anything to the mix.

Boiled Eggs Cook's Tip

I hope you give this salad a try.  I found it substantial enough to make a meal of it, but with plenty of robust flavour it would also make a great accompaniment to roasted or barbequed meat dishes.  It also keeps well and leftovers are great for a "take-to-work" lunch the next day.

Pearl Barley Salad with Pistachios, Favas & Pomegranate 1

Pearl Barley Salad with Pistachios,
Favas & Pomegranate Recipe
Inspired by recipes from both
Donna Hay & Yotam Ottolenghi
Makes 2 substantial servings
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

3/4 cup pearl barley
1-1/2 cups vegetable stock
generous pinch saffron threads
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
large handful pomegranate seeds
1 cup fava (broad) beans, blanched and skins removed
generous handful flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
juice of 1x lemon
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2x soft boiled eggs

Put barley, saffron threads, stock, salt and pepper into a small saucepan.  Set pan over high heat and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat to very low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 40 minutes.  Remove from the heat, without removing the lid, and allow to stand for 10 minutes.  Rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly.

Place favas, parsley, barley, most of the pistachios, and most of the pomegranate seeds in a bowl and gently mix together.  Add lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and olive oil to the bowl and toss gently until everything is well combined.  Taste and adjust any of the flavourings and seasonings to suit your personal taste.

To serve, arrange a few peppery salad greens on a platter, and spoon the barley mixture over the top.  Finish by sprinkling over the remaining pistachios and pomegranate seeds, and the halved eggs.

If you would like to get to know Donna Hay or Yotam Ottolenghi a little better, or one of our other IHCC chefs, and to see all the wonderful pot luck dishes my friends have come up with, then do go visit I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links.

IHCC Donna Hay Badge resized

**Tasting Jerusalem is a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ten Speed Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to omgyummy.com, following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, liking our Facebook page or joining our Google+ Community and finally checking out all of our groups’ dishes on Pinterest.

I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the lovely Michelle at Ms. enPlace, Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads, Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays hosted by my special friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, and at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollam.

See Ya in The Gumbo Badge     Weekend Cooking Badge     Souper Sundays Badge     Foodie Friday Badge


44 comments:

  1. You always have so much to teach and share and such creativity in your kitchen Sue. Love how you tackled both groups with one dish in such an elegant way. And I, for one, LOVE, the runny yolks marrying with the other flavors and textures and creating a sauce of sorts. One of my favorite things. You can cook for me anytime ok? :-)

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    1. Oh, Beth, thank you for such kind words. Yep, gotta have those runny yolks, and adding to the dressing of the salad is exactly what they do - delish. I'd happily cook for you :-) Next time I come to San Francisco we will have to arrange to spend a day in the kitchen together - wouldn't that be fun - and I will definitely take you up on your offer of a batch of rugelach xo

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  2. A marriage made in heaven indeed! the salad looks fabulous. i love pomegranates. The picture of the pistachios.....never knew they looked like that.

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    1. Thanks, Sunita. I adore pomegranates. They don't seem to grow here in New Zealand at all, certainly not commercially anyway, so although I try to buy produce locally as much as I can, these are one of the few imported treats I do allow myself.

      The pistachios are amazing. I came across this tree in the front garden of a small house when my friends and I were wandering through a small village on the island of Paros. We stopped and deliberated for several minutes over what they might be, when a man came out of the house. We couldn't resist asking and were so surprised when he told us they were pistachios. Then much to our surprise, just moments later, as we were driving through the countryside, we came across a whole plantation of them.

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  3. I've thought a few times in looking at some of Donna Hay's recipes that they're a little Ottolenghi-esque, but much simpler so it makes perfect sense you could create a dish by adding a few of Ottolenghi's touches to a Donna Hay recipe (or vice versa) and come up with a winner. It looks delicious. And I would have never guessed that those were pistachios...fascinating!

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    1. Thanks, Zosia. I agree with you - there are a lot of Donna's recipes which are simplified versions of Ottolenghi-style dishes, or which lend themselves to tricking up with an Ottolenghi-esque touch or two. Which pleases me immensely, as I'm always happy when I can "Ottolenghi-ify" a dish.

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  4. I love how you mixed and matched the best of Ottolenghi and Donna in this salad! It's so beautiful and has so many of my favorite things!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. Knowing your recipes as I do and the food you like, I know you would absolutely love this one. It's also great with finely shaved raw asparagus instead of the favas, which is what was called for in Donna's original recipe and, I'm yet to try it, but I think it would also be great with char-grilled asparagus.

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  5. The salad looks amazing, you created a beautiful and delicious dish vibrant with flavor and texture, I love pearl barley and everything in this, I will make it.

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    1. Thanks you so much. This salad is definitely one I will be making all summer long, and probably into winter as well, since I love salads all year round, and this one is definitely robust enough to stand up to cooler days. Actually, until now, I've always been much more likely to use pearl barley in a soup or something like that, and seldom think about using it in salads, but it's flavour and texture is so fantastic I'll definitely be using it a lot more. Hope you enjoy it.

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  6. Pomegranates and pistachios are two of my favorites, this is an interesting dish.

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    1. Thanks, Diane - two of my favourites too. I love that as ingredients they seem to always elevate even quite a simple dish into something quite special and exotic.

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  7. I love barley salads. This one has such a great combination of flavors. Pistachios...yum!

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    1. Thanks, Janel. Barley salads are new to me, but I'll definitely be making them a lot more often after this. I love the flavour and texture, and they way that they can stand up to the addition of a lot of robust flavour additions.

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  8. I'm so impressed with your creativity… the salad looks delicious!

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    1. Thanks so much, JoAnn, and thanks for stopping by :-)

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  9. What a beautiful salad! And I love knowing what pistachios look like in the wild. I had no idea.

    Joy's Book Blog

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    1. Thanks, Joy. It was great to come across pistachios growing in their natural habitat, as they don't grow at all in my country. Would love to see them when the fruit ripens, as they turn red. I bet that looks quite beautiful.

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  10. this looks so good and cool to see the pistachios

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    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca, and thanks for visiting - hope you stop by again.

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  11. OMG this looks sooooooooo amazing. I've never seen pistachios on the tree -- thanks so much for sharing that photo.

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    1. Thanks so much, Beth. It's definitely been a popular salad around here, and I foresee it turning up a lot of summer. The pistachios are very cool, aren't they :-)

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  12. This salad is so delectable. I can have it as my main dish with so many delicicious ingredients! Thanks for sharing the pistachios picture, and eye-opener to me.

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    1. Thanks very much, Joy. Yes, I too was very happy to eat this as a main meal - it is very substantial and it has so many wonderful flavours.

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  13. What a great salad. I've used barley as a side dish recently, but can't remember using it as a salad, I'm keen to try it, it looks amazing. I've never seen pistachios growing either- they look great too.

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    1. Thanks, Louise. I'm a bit like you - I've often used barley as a side dish or as an ingredient in a soup, for example, but never really as the hero of the dish in this kid of treatment. Can't believe it's an ingredient I've neglected for so long.

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  14. Hi Sue,
    That is a beautiful and tempting salad! I love it, how you made it your own by combining the two recipes and switching ingredients to make one amazing salad! And that egg really sums it all up! Love the oozing eggs!
    Wonderful selection for a potluck!

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    1. And thanks for the photo of the pistachios! First time I'm seeing it, and I think they are simply stunning!

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    2. Thanks for your very kind words, Joyce. I actually love being able to springboard off a couple of recipes and come up with something new. The egg is totally the clincher, isn't it :-)

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  15. I would have never guessed it was pistachios!
    The salad looks so good and healthy I might have to give it a try!

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    1. Vicki, it's such a surprise, isn't it? Somehow, it's just not what you imagine that pretty looking green fruit to be. Hope you enjoy the salad.

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  16. I don't know that I've ever used barley in my cooking - so this would be outside of the box for me! I do like pistachio as a topping, and pomegranates are popping up in the fruit section too. Maybe I'll try that combo in a slightly different way...

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    1. Cecelia, this salad is definitely worth stepping out of your comfort zone for and giving barley a try. Though you could just as easily make this work with brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, couscous, or even small pasta.

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  17. This salad is so beautiful...do I dare take this for Thanksgiving?? Could be a new favorite, could be something that everyone takes some and puts on their plates, looks alone are great on this one...must try.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kayte. I think this would be the perfect addition to the Thanksgiving table. I think it's likely to be particularly popular with those who might want something on the side as an alternative to stuffing or dressing, and has plenty of robust flavour.

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  18. I love everything about your chef 'mash-up' --what a great combination of ingredients and flavors and you won my heart with the runny yolks. ;-) Barley is such a great salad ingredient! Thanks for sharing with Souper Sundays this week.

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    1. Thanks, Deb. Barley is great, isn't it, and with plenty of that runny yolk forked through it, the barley was just sublime. I enjoyed bringing Donna and Yotam together for this dish.

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  19. First of all, I must say that I love the pic of the pistachio tree. That is a first for me! I agree with Deb, I love your version of this salad and think it's great that you borrowed from both chefs to create a personalized version. It certainly is pretty and colorful!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kim. I love the pistachio tree photo too - it feels very special that I was able to capture that. This really is a very colourful salad, and it's really just great ingredients that make it look so pretty.

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  20. Taking the best of two great chefs is a win-win situation and the salad is a tribute to the three of you.

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    1. Thanks so much, Chaya - that's very kind. Thanks for stopping by.

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  21. Nifty combination from two wonderful chefs, Sue! The marigold petals made me smile. Last time you used them, my son was amazed by the idea that some flowers are edible. I had no idea that's what pistachios look like on the tree. Seeing a stand of them must have really been something special. Thank you for stopping by and linking. I enjoy salads with pearl barley--love the texture.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. Actually, I remembered how much your son had liked that and I thought of you as I was strewing the petals over the top of this salad. I think edible flowers are my new addiction for summer.

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  22. I just showed my husband the pistachio tree. I had never taken the time to look at photo of one. We both love pistachios. I like your version of this salad, and it will be nice for table in the winter here. I just signed up for email notifications since we share similar tastes in cooking.

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