A few weeks ago I got a copy of The Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and was beyond excited to get my mitts on it. I’ve been a fan of Deb Perelman’s famous blog ever since a colleague brought in a tray of her white chocolate salted oat cookies… heaven. I also love the fact she spends all day whipping up recipes in her little New York kitchen, she is literally living out my food fantasies! Seeing as I have been travelling recently I only got time to give one of her cookbook recipes a whirl this weekend and was excited to give this particular one a go. The book is laid out quite nicely and as well as the usual sections, it covers lunches, salads, sides and party food quite well which most cook books usually neglect. I also like that there are no token recipes or page fillers, I would happily eat each dish.
Seeing as I had been away in Italy in eating my body weight in cheese, pasta and bread I decided I could do with adding a few new good salads to my list and this looked so packed with flavour and texture, I was keen to try it out. Also I had never cooked pearl barley before and so was curious. This salad is meaty enough to have as a main for lunch, but would also be great as a side. I enjoyed mine with roast lamb, and the mint, feta and harrissa flavours really complemented it. This is really easy to make and looks quite impressive, so why not give it a go. I’ll be enjoying the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
250g pearl barley
1 litre water or vegetable stock
5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp harrissa (I used 1 tsp as I like spice)
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch ground cumin
4 tbsp fresh mint leaves chopped
100g feta cheese crumbled
1. Bring the pearl barley, water/stock and salt to the boil and then let simmer for about 15- 20 minutes until soft. When cooked drain and rinse through with cold water.
2. Cut the vegetables into batons, coat in a little oil and salt and pop into a pre-heated oven at 180C until cooked. I think they’re nice a little firm with a bite, I wouldn’t let them get too soft.
3. Mix all dressing ingredients together. Add cooked vegetables to the pearl barley, mix in the dressing and stir in the feta and mint. Garnish with a little extra mint and feta.