Monday, 16 July 2012

PEARL BARLEY, CHORIZO, ASPARAGUS & FETA SALAD

So I know it's not really barbeque weather at the moment, but I still like to come up with ideas for nice big salads and lighter options to eat during the summer months.
Pearl Barley is an ingredient which is relatively new to my store cupboard. I absolutely love adding it to soups and stews to make a more substantial meal for a main course. Pearl Barley is barley which has had all the bran removed, leaving a white pearly grain. It is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and it is also a good source of dietary fibre. The only downside to cooking pearl barley is that it takes about an hour to cook so you've just got to make sure you are prepared ahead -  It's worth it!


SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup pearl barley
100g asparagus
100g chorizo, cut into 1 inch pieces
100g feta cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
handful of peas

DRESSING:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper

METHOD:
1. Wash the pearl barley well under cold running water.

2. In a saucepan, add 5 cups of cold water to every 1 cup of pearl barley. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and then reduce to simmer for approximately 1 hour.


3. Bring another pot of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Break off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. (This part can be stringy and tough) Add the remaining asparagus to the boiling water and cook for 2-3mins. Add the peas to the pot and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.


4. Drain the asparagus and peas and refresh under cold running water.

5. Next, heat a frying pan over a high heat and add the chorizo. Cook until nice and crisp. Remove from the pan and leave aside on a piece of kitchen paper to soak up some of the excess oil.

6. In a small jar, add all the ingredients for the dressing and shake vigorously to combine.

7. When the pearl barley is cooked, drain and leave to cool slightly. This salad can be eaten warm or cold so its really personal preference as to how long you would like to serve it.

9. In a large bowl, combine the pearl barley, feta cheese, peas, asparagus and chorizo. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add some extra dressing to the salad if necessary.


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