I swear this wholesome looking dish is not penance for anything (although I am quite looking forward to trying the pistachio and pomegranate cake that I can smell cooking in my kitchen right now in preparation for a guests birthday who is coming to a cooking class tonight. I will blog about that next post (let me now just cross all fingers and toes that a) it works and b) is as delicious as I think it will be). No penance, no. I just really, really love salad and I really, really love lunch (and eating in general) and this is what I am gracing my tastebuds with and what I am enjoying for my lunch today. It is the sort of dish where most of the prep work can be done ahead of time – like cooking and plumping the pearl barley and roasting the cauliflower and leaves. It looks quite striking and you just know it is doing all kinds of wonderful to the insides of your belly and body.
Barley is full of phosphorus and magnesium and contains a minimum 8% fibre. I tend to use pearl barley. Pearl barley is processed barley that has had some of the germ and some bran removed. Unlike most grains, barley’s fibre can be found right through the kernel so therefore, it is not removed during the processing. If you choose to use unprocessed barley, remember to soak overnight and extend the cooking time by roughly 15 minutes. I love barley for it’s incredible earthy flavour and I use it often in soups, stews and salads. As a general rule, cook pearl barley for 30minutes in boiling water. Mount zero seems to be my preferred brand. You can buy this particular one online at Relish Mama (or in store, of course!). It does pay to spend a few extra bucks to create this cracking dish. Any left overs keep beautifully and you will feel quite self righteous tucking in to such a glorious dish at your desk, in the sunshine or wherever you choose to recharge in the middle of the day.
Barley, Apple and Roasted Cauliflower and carrot salad
This salad can be equally good with other grains – farro or quinoa, in particular. It is also lovely with a sampling of nuts and seeds onhand such as pepitas and toasted and chopped walnuts.
200g Mt Zero Pearl Barley
3 carrots, sliced on an angle
1/2 a cauliflower cut into florets and leaves kept
2 apples, sliced thinly (I like to use my mandolin for this)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup roughly chopped dill
2 cups chopped rocket
100g goats cheese or also quite a standout with St Agur blue cheese in it’s place, roughly torn and scattered
Freshly cracked black pepper
Mustard and honey dressing
Use as much as you need for this salad and the rest can store in your fridge for up to 2 months.
100ml extra virgin olive oil
35ml apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
For the dressing, place all ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine.
Cook barley in 6 cups of boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Roast carrots on one tray and the cauliflower (with leaves hand torn) on separate trays in a 180oC preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
Add all ingredients together, except for the goats cheese and dressing.
Place on a large platter, dollop goats curd all over and drizzle with honey and mustard dressing. Use just what you need to dress this salad and store any remains in the refrigerator for next time.