A Versatile Summer Salad

This recipe is adapted from one in Fine Cooking. Every year they put out a special Fresh edition geared toward summer produce and what to do with it. I have found several go-to recipes in these publications.

This particular recipe is especially nice, because you can use frozen corn and black-eyed peas—making it more accessible year-round.

NOTE: I had some cranberry beans from the University District Farmers Market that I purchased last fall and I wanted to use them, so I substituted cranberry beans for the black-eyed peas in the salad shown above.

Black-Eyed Pea and Barley Salad
Serves 6-8
½ cup pearled barley
1½ cups low-salt vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup frozen or cooked black-eyed peas
Kosher salt
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and small diced
1 cup seeded and diced ripe tomato
¾-1 cup diagonally sliced scallions (white and green parts)
1 cup cooked fresh corn kernels (or thawed, frozen)
Green and red leaf lettuce (optional)
Vinaigrette dressing (see below)

In a dry saucepan, lightly toast the barley over moderate heat until fragrant—about 5 minutes—stirring to prevent burning.

Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender—about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, undisturbed and partially uncovered, until barley has cooled to room temperature.

Meanwhile, cook the black-eyed peas in lightly salted boiling water until just tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, and set aside. (If using canned peas, don’t cook them, but rinse them well.)

In a large glass bowl, layer the barley, peas, pepper, tomato, scallions, and corn. Drizzle with the vinaigrette (recipe below) and toss before serving.

If you want to serve the salad already plated, arrange lettuce leaves on each plate and top with the salad.

Vinaigrette Dressing
¼ cup fresh lime juice (or lemon)
½ teaspoon grated lime zest (or lemon)
¼ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons finely minced cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, zest, garlic, cumin, cilantro, oil, and honey. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe is a variation of one I found in The Best of Fine Cooking – Fresh magazine (Spring/Summer 2007).

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