I don't like most grain salads. I never will. I've tried them in so many ways, so many times, and I just don't like them. It is making progress through the "Grains" chapter a real challenge. So when Rachel told me that we could make a couple recipes and she would eat them, I jumped at the chance. We picked a rye berry salad and a barley salad.
The grains were bought out of bulk bins (rye berries on the left, barley on the right):
TJOC has a very handy chart on pages 364 to 368 explaining how to cook almost every type of grain. I utilized it.
Rachel thought Warm barley, mushroom, and asparagus salad (p. 347) sounded good.
My cooked pearl barley:
I managed not to take any pictures of my barley-salad-making process. I sauteed shallots in olive oil and then added sliced mushrooms. I cooked the mushrooms until they started to soften and added lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper. While re-reading the recipe, I think I was supposed to cook the asparagus with the barley but I didn't realize that until too late. The asparagus got steamed instead. I mixed all the components together:
Rachel claimed it was tasty but could have used more asparagus and mushrooms. I think it's obvious from the picture that it has too much barley and not enough "other stuff".
Bell peppers are one of the only foods I don't like (canned tuna is the other one), although I do enjoy roasting peppers (it seems to impress people when I have them n hand as a condiment and it's not difficult at all to do). Roasted red pepper dressing (p. 574) was almost a guaranteed hit with people who like red peppers (Rachel, Mom) and a big ole fail for me.
The dressing was simple--I mashed a garlic clove and salt in a food processor and then added a jar of roasted red peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, shallots, cumin, ground red pepper, and salt and pepper.
Rachel said it was incredibly delicious. Smooth, tangy, and very well seasoned. Perfect for people who like roasted red peppers.
The roasted red pepper sauce was for Rye berry salad with roasted red pepper dressing (p. 361).
I cooked the rye berries according to the TJOC grains chart:
I mixed them with the red pepper dressing, diced carrot, celery, radishes, zucchini, yellow pepper, and onion, minced cilantro, and salt and pepper:
A closer look:
BEAUTIFUL! So colorful! I wouldn't eat this on a dare (between all the peppers and grains, it's pretty much a nightmare for me) but I would make it for a party. It was beautiful, spectacularly good for you, and it made an amazing amount. Rachel and my mom said it was extremely good but really could have used even more dressing. This recipe makes a LOT. Make sure you either love leftovers, have lots of people in the house who like grain salads, or are making it for a potluck.
Do you like grain salads?
Random facts related to this post:
- Barley was considered the special food of the gladiators (On Food and Cooking, p. 469)
- The moist climate that is perfect for rye is also ideal for ergot. Ergot is a fungus that can cause St. Anthony's Fire, a disease that can cause mental derangement and progressive gangrene. It also causes hallucinations similar to LSD (On Food and Cooking, p. 470 and Wikipedia)
- Rye has a bunch of negatives working against it when it comes to bread making, it's a miracle that rye bread exists (my personal thoughts)