Beautiful Barley - nothing like Cod Liver Oil!
Barley used to have a bad rep with me; maybe it was all those English children’s novels I read in which kids were forced to swallow barley water – it always sounded dreadful. Or maybe I confused with cod liver oil. Anyway, I have been maligning this humble grain, and I am self-actualized to admit it! I’ve been using it as a staple cooking and baking ingredient ever since I went to the Good Food Festival last year and found out that it’s a nutritional powerhouse, and that it’s grown in Ontario. Unfortunately, most of what’s grown here is used for animal feed. Silly, I say – why not skip the step of feeding it to animals and add barley directly to our culinary line-up? There’s lots of information, and a slew of great recipes, on the Oat and Barley Council of Ontario website. What follows is a recipe for tabbouleh that’s quick, easy and totally delicious. And the leftovers make a terrific packed lunch. PROMISE me you’ll try it.
Feta Olive Barley Tabbouleh - serves 6
- 1½ cups pot barley, rinsed
- 4½ cups water/vegetable stock
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
- 2 cups peeled, diced English cucumbers
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (use canned drained tomatoes in a pinch)
- ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup pitted olives
Bring water or stock and salt to a rolling boil in a 3 quart pot. Add the barley and reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Drain off any unabsorbed liquid. Transfer cooked barley to a large bowl. Combine olive oil and lemon juice in small bowl. Whisk together. Pour over cooked barley. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir. Add parsley, cucumber, tomato and dill. Mix well. Transfer to platter. Sprinkle crumbled feta and chopped olives over salad. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes or longer.