Salad of Spring Vegetables and Herbs with Barley
Dill, mint, and parsley enliven this light barley based salad, which is full of the quintessential tastes of spring vegetables.
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Marinade/Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup halved or quartered mushrooms
2 carrots, peeled and diced (choose bunch carrots with tops intact)
½ pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into ½-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed
2/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Using a strainer, rinse the barley and drain. In a small heavy skillet on low heat, roast the barley until fragrant and beginning to brown. Place the barley and water in a small saucepan, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook on low heat until most of the water has been absorbed and the barley is soft, about 40 minutes.
While the barley cooks, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. In a separate bowl, pour half of the dressing over the mushrooms and set aside. Blanch the carrots in boiling water for about 1 minute. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large serving bowl. Blanch the asparagus for 45 seconds or up to 3 to 4 minutes, depending on size. Rinse under cold water and set aside. Stir in the parsley and marinated mushrooms into the bowl of carrots. Cut the sugar snap peas into ½-inch pieces and set aside.
When the barley is tender, drain it in a colander. Add the drained barley and the remaining dressing to the serving bowl and mix well. Allow the salad to sit for 30 and up to 2 hours before serving. refrigerated before serving. Just before serving, gently toss the in the sugar snap peas and the optional walnuts into the barley mixture and spoon some on to each of 6 plates.
Serves 6 to 8