Aside from my personal fondness for the flavor and texture of this salad, it's pretty and colorful. Bring it to a gathering, and you won't find that 15 other people have brought it, too! For some reason, men seem to like it a lot, though as Julie would say, your mileage may vary on that! It's a nice change from the mayonnaise-dressed salads.
The original recipe came from an old Gourmet cookbook. Over the years, I've tried to improve on it, but this is one of those recipes that was nailed by the folks at Gourmet. I always go back to the original.
I have a dog who is allergic to grain and can't eat dog food, so barley (which is a grain but doesn't contain the thing that triggers grain allergies) is one of the foods that I cook for him every week. Consequently, I've cooked a lot of the stuff. I've discovered that the pearled barley in the bulk bins at my health food store is much nicer quality than the bagged barley at my regular grocery store. It expands more and has a better texture. I have not prepared this dish with hulled barley, which is supposed to be even better for us. I find hulled barley to be a bit like eating bark straight off the tree. Enough said about *that*!
Note also that I have tried making this with a variety of vinegars over the years, basically whatever I happened to have on hand. Stick to white wine vinegar. Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, herbed vinegars, and apple cider vinegar simply don't work. The flavor is not right.
1 cup barley
1 red bell pepper
1 bag frozen yellow corn
2 tablespoons and one teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1. Spread double paper towels on a counter or baking sheet and pour the frozen corn onto it. Spread out and allow to thaw. (No cooking!)
2. Rinse the dry barley and drain.
3.Bring salted water in a large pot to a boil. Slowly add the barley. Return to a boil and turn the heat down so it boils gently but doesn't boil over. (Watch out -- barley boils over rather easily.) Remove the foam by skimming it. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft but not mushy.
4. Meanwhile, slice the red pepper into bite-sized pieces and chop parsley.
5. Drain the cooked barley and rinse under cold water. Let stand until cool.
6. In a small mixing bowl, add salt and pepper to the vinegar. Add the olive oil slowly, whisking it to blend.
7. Combine the cool barley, thawed corn, and red pepper in a serving bowl. Pour the oil and vinegar mixture over top and toss to coat.
8. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley just before serving.
Julie’s first book in The Manor House Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure (starred review in Publishers Weekly!), debuts June 1st!
To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!)
No receipts required. Just email Julie at JulieHyzy@gmail.com with the date that you
pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you
ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please
put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)
Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
Independent Bookstore List: here