Barley and Pomegranate Salad

I did not plan to post about grain salads two weeks in a row, or about grain salads that involve a lot of messy, red splatters in the process. Today it’s pomegranates not beets but I dare say they are messier than the beets. But worth it! I rarely use pomegranates but Yotam Ottolenghi can convince me to use most anything. And I have struggled with barley salads in the past, as you might recall, but no more.

I ate pomegranates when I lived in southern Italy and remember being enchanted seeing them growing for the first time. They are beautiful and they are a bit of pain. I found splatters about seven feet up on a kitchen wall about six feet from where I had been working. Wear an apron when you’re picking out the seeds and wipe down your walls afterwards. And if you have tricks to extract the seeds with less mess, please share!

Other than that, this salad is a cinch. It’s subtly seasoned with ground allspice and minced garlic and more forcefully so with sherry vinegar. The result is a crunchy, juicy, fresh yet hearty salad that is nothing short of gorgeous. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking and Eating!

P.S. One spot left in this Saturday’s class, that I’m now calling Party with Class (instead of Eat, Drink & Be Merry). The menu of both cocktails and treats is, well, a bit ridiculous. . . I’m going to be prepping and cooking for the next few days straight.

Barley and Pomegranate Salad
–adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

This is a gorgeous, fresh and unexpected combination. It’s lovely this time of year when pomegranates show up in the markets. I did not have dill on hand either of the times I’ve made this and it was wonderful. I’m sure it would be even better with dill, as written below.

Serves 4-6 as side

1 cup pearl or hulled barley (hulled is the whole grain version and takes a bit longer to cook and is what I used here)
6 celery stalks (leaves picked and reserved, stalks cut into small dice)
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped dill
seeds of one large pomegranate

Cook barley in salted water until tender, 30 – 40 minutes. Drain barley and transfer to a bowl. Add oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper and celery and mix well. Let cool, then add herbs and pomegranate seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning.


Carrots

I’ve been making grated carrot salads for years. I love them especially in the winter and early spring. Dressed with plenty of lemon juice and fresh herbs they are a nice counterpoint to the heavier and sweeter flavors of the season.

Toast extra seeds to you have them for future salads/snacks and so you don’t skimp on the amount you add to the salad.

This recipe makes a lot but I still love it the next day even though the seeds lose a bit of their crunch. But by all means, make less.

 

Carrot and Seed Salad with Herbs and Seeds

–inspired by Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Carrarini

 

3/4 cup sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)

2 teaspoons oil & few pinches salt (to toast the seeds)

6-7 medium carrots, grated

1/2 cup (or more) chopped fresh herbs like chives, parsley, mint, cilantro etc.

Dressing:

3 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste

scant 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

 

Toss the sunflower seeds with the a little oil and several pinches of salt and toast on a baking sheet for about 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

 

Place the grated carrots in a serving bowl with the herbs and the dressing ingredients. Toss well and add toasted seeds and taste adjust seasoning with more lemon and/or salt, if needed.