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?
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.
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 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.
**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.