Eden and I made this salad for a dinner party she hosted last weekend. She reported that it was well-received by all and that Daylan in particular loved it. She recommended I make some for the people living here (that would be just David and I now) and so I did. Now I recommend the same recipe to you. It is delicious and healthy and pretty. Can't want more than that, right?
The recipe is from Everyday Food. The only change I would make to the recipe as they printed it is to use regular pot barley instead of the quick-cooking barley called for. I did try the quick-cooking and although it is indeed a quicker route I prefer the taste and texture of the regular grain. It is easy enough to cook and just requires a very tiny bit more time. And it is a lot easier to find at your local grocers.
Barley is an ancient grain with a very impressive list of health promoting benefits. It has roughly 4 times the dietary fibre of oats and twice the protein. Many of the potential health benefits are associated with the fibre - regularity, lower cholesterol, & intestinal protection (how's that for sexy?). Barley is a rich source of magnesium - a mineral that has a vital role in bone health and is a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes. Barley may protect against Type 2 diabetes, post-menopausal breast cancer, gall-stones, childhood asthma, and hormone dependant cancers. The copper in barley can benefit those suffering from arthritis. And the phosphorus in barley aids in the development and repair of body tissue. Sold yet? In addition to these and many more (but potentially yawn-inducing) attributes barley is just plain yummy.
This recipe makes what Martha's writers allow for four people. We had large servings and it easily served at least 3 more. It saves very well for a day or two. We had it with salmon, Eden served it with roast turkey breast and sweet potatoes. It would be wonderful on its own for lunch.
barley salad with squash and broccoli
(tweaked from Martha Stewart Everyday Food mag - November 2011)
1 medium acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2" slices
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups pot barley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp minced shallot
2/3 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss squash with 2 tsp olive oil and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile toss the broccoli with another 2 tsp oil and arrange on another parchment-lined sheet. Add that to the oven and continue roasting both vegetables for another 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Watch the broccoli as the flower bits can crisp past the point of yummy pretty quickly. Let cool slightly and cut the squash slices in half.
Meanwhile cook the barley in 4 cups water. (Bring the water to a boil , add the barley and reduce the heat to simmer until the barley is tender - about 40 minutes.) Drain any remaining water from the barley and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
In a large bowl whisk together 3 Tbsp evoo, lemon juice, and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Add squash, broccoli, barley, almonds, and raisins. Toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with shaved parmesan. (We passed the wedge of Parmesan - wrapped in a cloth napkin - and a vegetable peeler so each person could add the cheese to their personal preference. I like more rather than less, myself.
(Full disclosure - David loved this but he did comment that if people are not used to healthy eating this may not appeal to them ... until they taste it. What on earth does that mean?!!!)